Saul A. Cornell, 45
Professor of History, Department of History, The Ohio State University.
Area of Research: American Revolution, the Early Republic, History and Public Policy, and Legal/Constitutional history
Education: University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. (1989)
Major Publications: Cornell is the author of A Well Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America and The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 voted a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2001 and winner of the triennial Society of Cincinnati prize for the best work on the Revolutionary era. He has also published Whose Right to Bear Arms Did the Second Amendment Protect? Bedford Book's"Historians At Work" series.
He is the editor of Retrieving the American Past: Documents and Essays on American History, (Pearson, 1994-2005), and the forthcoming Guns in American Law and Society: An Interdisciplinary Reader (University of Massachusetts Press, forthcoming, 2007) He has written articles in the Journal of American History, American Studies, William and Mary Quarterly, William and Mary Law Review,Constitutional Commentary, and others. His book reviews have appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic, Reviews in American History, and many others.
Prof. Cornell is currently writing a section of a new textbook, American Visions: A History of the American Nation, (Pearson, under contract, with Ed O'Donnell, and Jennifer Keane).
Awards: Cornell is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including:
The Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and the Colonial Daughters of Pennsylvania Prize in Early American History.
Society of the Cincinnati, History Book Prize, Triennial Award for the Best Book on the American Revolutionary Era, (2001); Choice Outstanding Academic Book, (2000) all for The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828.
Joyce Foundation, Second Amendment Center Grant (2003-2006);
Department of Education, Teaching American History Grant, Historyworks (2002-2005);
Joyce Foundation Planning Grant, (2001-2002) ;
Betha Grant, Batelle Memorial Endowment, Ohio Teaching Institute (1999-2000);
NEH Fellowship, (2003-2004);
Gilder-Lehrman Fellowship (2002);
American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) (2001) ;
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Research Fellowship (1998);
Thomas Jefferson Chair In American Studies, Fulbright Lecturing Award (1995);
Ohio State University Seed Grant (1994);
Ohio State University Special Research Assignment (1993);
Ohio State University Grant-In-Aid (1992);
NEH Post-Doctoral Fellow, Institute of Early American History and Culture (1989-1991).
Cornell is the Director of the Second Amendment Research Center, John Glenn Institute (2002- Present). Formerly Thomas Jefferson Chair, University of Leiden, The Netherlands (1995)
Formerly Assistant Professor, Department of History, College of William and Mary (1989-1991).
Cornell has appeared on C-Span2's Book TV, NPR and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. He is also on the Editorial Board of"American Quarterly." He has delivered invited lectures at Oxford University, Columbia University, Duke, NYU Law School, UCLA Law School, Stanford Law School, and Vanderbilt University Law School. He has presented papers at meetings of the American Historical Association, the American Society of Legal History, the American Studies Association, the Organization of American Historians, and many others.
He has a strong interest in teaching with technology. He has written about pedagogical tools in the AHA's Perspectives and is on the Board of Advisers of Pearson's website,"The History Place."
No matter what aspect of the gun issue you work on you inevitably run into people with pretty strong feelings. I think it is safe to say that if I had written a history of the 3rd Amendment, I would not get angry e-mails from people with names like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or have bloggers with names like, “geek with an uzi” denounce me as part of some insidious conspiracy. (Don’t these guys know I would never be part of any conspiracy that would have me as a member.)
One of the most interesting venues to try out the ideas in my new book, A Well Regulated Militia was provided by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action and the Students for the Second Amendment at George Mason Law School (now a wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA.) I was invited to talk at their first ever Firearms Symposium. (I am still waiting for my invitation from the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms symposium: From AKs to AK-47s.) As you might expect the demographic of the GMU event was sort of the opposite of the Berks. (Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians). Indeed, I recall one person attacking toy stores that refused to stock toy guns. These guys, and it was mostly guys, were not only against gun control, they were against toy gun control.
I began my talk by describing my situation as akin to that of a priest at his first Bar Mitzvah. Picking up on this theme during the question and answer session one member of the audience wanted to know why Jews were against guns (he obviously had never hung out with the aforementioned Jews for the Preservation of Firearms.) I explained that I did not think religion or ethnicity explained very much about attitudes towards guns. Indeed, I speculated that in Montana, all of the Jews, all six of them, were probably very heavily armed—they would have to be I would think.
Since the publication of my book I have done a fair number of radio interviews and what is most fascinating about these is the mirror they provide on popular perceptions of history and constitutionalism. Invariably, most callers are ardently pro-gun rights. Pro-gun control people seem to have other things to do with their time and don’t do a lot of talk radio.
I hope that my new book can help both sides in the debate understand the complex history that has led to our current impasse on this issue. Needless to say I would not urge anyone to venture into this contentious arena unless you have a very good sense of humor—it has proven almost as valuable as the special Kevlar edition of my book.
By Saul Cornell
Although each side in the modern debate claims to be faithful to the historic Second Amendment, a restoration of its original meaning, re-creating the world of minuteman, would be a nightmare that neither side would welcome. It would certainly involve more instrusive gun regulation, not less. Proponents of gun rights would not relish the idea of mandatory gun registration, nor would they be eager to welcome government officials into their homes to inspect privately owned weapons as they did in Revolutionary days. Gun control advocates might blanch at the notion that all Americans would be required to receive firearms training and would certainly look askance at the idea of requiring all able-bodied citizens to purchase their own military-style assault weapons. Yet if the civic right to bear arms of the Founding were reintroduced, this is exactly what citizens would be obligated to do. A restoration of the original understanding of the Second Amendment would require all these measures and much more. -- Saul Cornell in"A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America"
About Saul Cornell
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