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A Heart for History: Dr. Jeff Broadwater

With a heart for history, Professor Jeff Broadwater has spent a lifetime sharing the intimate details of our country’s heritage with all who will take time to listen. Whether teaching a class of students, presenting at an historical association, or joining an informal conversation with fellow faculty, Dr. Broadwater always brings new perspectives to past events that cause his audience to pause and reflect with renewed interest. This renowned scholar, attorney, and historian epitomizes bold thinking on campus, and, as a result, he has come to be recognized as a respected authority on U.S. founders’ George Mason and James Madison, as well as Adlai Stevenson and President Dwight Eisenhower.

In addition to publishing four books, “Adlai Stevenson and American Politics: The Odyssey of a Cold War Liberal,” “Eisenhower and the Anti-Communist Crusade,” “The First Order of Greatness: George Mason and the Republican Experiment,” and “James Madison: A Son of Virginia and a Founder of the Nation,” Dr. Broadwater has written numerous articles, essays, book reviews, papers, and presentations.

And, he has won numerous awards during the course of his professional career, including but not limited to high praise by the “Washington Post” for his third book, “George Mason, Forgotten Founder,” as one of the Best Non-Fiction Books of 2006. That third book also earned him the Richard Slattern Award in 2006 by the Virginia Historical Society. His most recent honor in 2016, also by the Virginia Historical Society, was the William M. E. Rachal Award for overall best article to appear in the journal, which recognized his article titled “James Madison and the Constitution: Reassessing the ‘Madison Problem,’” in volume 123, number 3, of the “Virginia Magazine.”

In 2015-2016, Dr. Broadwater served as chair of the Organization of American Historians’ Ellis Hawley Award Committee. The Hawley Award is given annually to the best book in recent American political history. About 100 books were nominated for the award, and Dr. Broadwater’s service on the committee allowed him to donate his copies to Hackney Library, significantly strengthening the library’s holdings in modern American history.

While Dr. Broadwater has always enjoyed writing and spends much of his time researching the past, he admits that, at home, he is very much focused on family, which now includes five grandchildren. With high levels of energy and enthusiasm, these young hearts can quickly turn his head from the annals of history to dreams of the future.

Speaking of the future, Dr. Broadwater has an ambitious writing project underway, a new book in the works that concentrates on the constitutional thought of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. No doubt, Dr. Broadwater will provide another fresh approach to better understanding the multi-layered complexities of our country’s early history, as well as the behind-the-scenes relationships, that moved our nation forward.