Leslie Butler

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of History

Professor Butler primarily teaches courses in American cultural and intellectual history. She received her doctorate at Yale University and taught at Reed College and James Madison College (at Michigan State University) before coming to Dartmouth in 2003.

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Her research has explored the contours and complexities of 19th-century Anglo-American liberalism. Her first book, Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform, examines a group of liberal intellectuals who sought to remake public life in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Her current project (titled "American Democracy and 'The Woman Question'") explores what debates over women's role in the family, economy, and polity can tell us about political thought in the nineteenth century.

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202 Carson Hall
HB 6107
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
B.A. University of Rochester
M.Phil. Yale University
Ph.D. Yale University

Selected Publications

Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform , (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

“The ‘Woman Question’ in the Age of Democracy: From Movement History to Problem History,” in Joel Isaac, James T. Kloppenberg, Michael O’Brien, and Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, eds., The Worlds of American Intellectual History (Oxford University Press, 2017).

“A ‘Badge of Advanced Liberalism’: The Place of Woman Suffrage in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Political Thought,” in Andrew Preston and Doug Rossinow, eds., America’s World: The Transnational Circuitry of U.S. History (Oxford University Press, 2016).

“Lincoln as the Great Educator: Opinion and Educative Liberalism in the Civil War Era,” in Don Doyle, Marcus Gräser, and Jörg Nagler, eds., The Transnational Significance of the American Civil War (Palgrave Macmillan; 2016).

“‘Encountering the Smashing Projectile’: William James on John Stuart Mill and the Woman Question,” in Martin Halliwell and Joel Rasmussen, editors, William James and the Transatlantic Conversation: Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

“From the History of Ideas to Ideas in History,” Modern Intellectual History 9.1 (2012), 157-169.

“Victorianism,” in Joan Shelley Rubin and Scott E. Casper, eds., Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, Oxford University Press, 2013.

David Armitage, Thomas Bender, Leslie Butler, Don H. Doyle, Susan-Mary Grant, Charles S. Maier, Jörg Nagler, Paul Quigley, and Jay Sexton, “Nationalism and Internationalism during the Civil War Era: An Interchange,” Journal of American History 98.2 (2011), 455-489

“Historicizing American Travel, at Home and Abroad,” Modern Intellectual History (April 2011), 1-15.

“Reconstructions in Intellectual and Cultural Life,” in Reconstructions: New Perspectives on the Postbellum United States, T. Brown (ed.) (2006).

“Liberal Victorians and Foreign Policy in the Age of Empire,” in The Problem of Evil: Race, Slavery, and the Ambiguities of Reform, S. Mintz (ed.) (2006).

“Investigating the ‘Great American Mystery’: Theory and Style in Henry Adams’ Political Reform Moment,” in Henry Adams and the Need to Know, W. Decker (ed.), (2005) 80-103.

“Reading the Readers who Remake the (Poetry) Texts,” Reviews in American History 36 (4) 2008: 602-609.


“Dead Presidents and American Reform,” Reviews in American History , 32 (September 2004) 399-406.

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Works in progress

American Democracy and 'The Woman Question,'" book-length project.