Past Institutes

Pivotal U.S. Elections, 1800–1876

On September 27, 2018, Humanities Texas held a one-day workshop in Houston on pivotal U.S. presidential elections from the early republic through Reconstruction.


The workshop covered the presidential elections of 1800, 1824, 1828, 1860, and 1876. Topics addressed included the development of political parties, the rise of Jacksonian democracy, the events precipitating secession, and the contested election that led to the end of Reconstruction.

The workshop emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities. Content was aligned with the secondary social studies TEKS. Teachers received books and other instructional materials and were trained in the examination and interpretation of primary sources.


Workshop faculty included John B. Boles (Rice University), Daniel Feller (The University of Tennessee), Jennifer L. Weber (The University of Kansas), and Michael Les Benedict (The Ohio State University).

Location and Schedule

The workshop took place at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens on September 27, 2018. Download the workshop schedule.


The workshop was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas and a Humanities in the Public Square grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

Teachers analyze historical documents on pivotal elections during one of the workshop’s afternoon seminars.

Jennifer L. Weber, associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, explores documents related to the election of 1860 with educators.