Michael Les Benedict

Emeritus Professor
Emeritus Faculty

Professor Benedict joined the Ohio State University faculty in 1970, retiring in 2005. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. from Rice University. He has also been a visiting professor at M.I.T., Yale Law School, the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, and Hokkaido and Doshisha Universities in Japan. He also served as adjunct professor of The Ohio State University School of Law.

Professor Benedict is a recognized authority in Anglo-American constitutional and legal history, the history of civil rights and liberties, the federal system and the Civil War and Reconstruction. His The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (1973) and A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction (1975) are standard reading for students of the Civil War and Reconstruction. He has authored a widely used textbook on American constitutional history, The Blessings of Liberty (1996, rev. ed. 2005), a companion Sources in American Constitutional History (1996), and a reader in Reconstruction History, The Fruits of Victory: Alternatives in Restoring the Union, 1865-1877 (1975, rev. ed. 1986). He also prepared the American Historical Association's bicentennial essay on the history of American civil liberty, Civil Rights and Liberties (1987) and co-editedThe History of Ohio Law (2004).

Professor Benedict has published more than 40 essays in leading American history and law journals, as well as in books of essays. Some of these have been widely reprinted. A number have been updated and republished in his Preserving the Constitution: Essays on Politics and the Constitution in the Reconstruction Era (2006). He has received many grants, fellowships, and other recognitions and is a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He is currently working on the constitutional politics of Reconstruction.

Professor Benedict has also been an active member of the history profession. He currently serves as Parliamentarian of the American Historical Association, and is a past President of the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. He also serves on the committees, editorial boards, and advisory boards of numerous organizations, journals, and historical projects.

Areas of Expertise
  • US History to 1877