Emily S. Pears is an assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. Her research focus is in the areas of 19th century U.S. federalism, American political development, American nationalism and U.S. state building. She previously worked as a policy advocate for voting rights and redistricting reform issues in San Francisco and Sacramento. Dr. Pears holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.
“Chords of Sympathy: The Development of National Political Attachments in the 19th Century”
Pears’ dissertation, “Chords of Sympathy: The Development of National Political Attachments in the 19th Century,” begins with the question of when and how citizens’ political attachments originally shifted from the state governments to the national government during the 19th century. Looking specifically at how state building, party organization and cultural homogenization impacted citizens’ differential attachments to their state and national governments, Pears argues that across the United States state legislatures continued to hold public sway well past the civil war period. While the national state grew significantly during the course of the 19th century, administrative functions at the state and local level remained the most visible to American citizens, allowing and encouraging them to maintain strong attachments to their state governments. Party building in the 1830’s and 1840’s created an organizational structure that allowed individuals to connect their local activities to national political causes.