Lewis Johnson

Thesis title: “The Great Hunting Ground”?: Republican Party Politics and the White Conservative South, 1945-1952


I was born and raised in Central Scotland. From 2017 to 2021, I studied History and Politics (MA) at the University of Edinburgh. In Year 3, I developed a keen interest in the history of the United States. In my MA Dissertation, I analysed the 1932 U.S. presidential election campaign through the lens of the African American printed press to better understand both Herbert Hoover's and Franklin Roosevelt's support with voters.

In 2021, I then completed a Masters (MSc) degree in American History. My MSc Dissertation focused on the post-World War II 'triumph' of liberal Republicanism and explored the ideological battle between Senator Robert A. Taft and General Dwight D. Eisenhower for the Republican presidential nomination in 1952.

In September 2022, I began my PhD in History. It is a project kindly funded by the Jenny Balston Scholarship.


MA History and Politics, First Class (University of Edinburgh, 2017-2021).

MSc American History, Distinction (University of Edinburgh, 2021-2022).

Responsibilities & affiliations

Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA), Member.

Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), Postgraduate Representative.

British Association for American Studies (BAAS), Member.

The Royal Historical Society (RHS), Postgraduate Member.

The Southern Historical Association (SHA), Member.

Undergraduate teaching

History of the United States (Autumn 2023)

Writing Centre Tutor (Autumn 2023-)

Research summary

I am most interested in the political history of the post-World War II United States. In particular, my research centres around the Republican Party (GOP) and its efforts to mobilise electoral majorities in spite of New Deal liberalism's persistent popularity. Within this framework, I investigate how and why the Republicans exploited, or at least attempted to, issues or race, class, or electoral geography, to build new support and thereby return the party to majority status.

Current research interests

My PhD thesis explores Republican Party politics and the U.S. South in the immediate post-World War II era. It hopes to reorient historiographical focus on the importance of intraparty Republican developments in the demise of one-partyism in the South; to switch focus from the Democratic Party to the direct role of the Republicans in the growth of a two-party politics in the region. It argues the early postwar years represent an important yet under researched episode in the growth of southern Republicanism, fuelled by a top-down Republican effort to exploit the electoral potential that lay south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Project activity

MA Dissertation, "'The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea': Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the 1932 Presidential Election in the African American Press." (14 April 2021).

MSc Dissertation, "Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Triumph of the Liberal Republicans, 1950-1952." (15 August 2022).

Papers delivered

"Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the Triumph of the Liberal Republicans, 1948-1952," Scottish Association of the Study of America (SASA) Annual Conference, 4 March 2023.