Elizabeth Beaumont

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Elizabeth Beaumont is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Her work centers on constitutionalism, democracy, and American political development as well as civic engagement and education. She is particularly interested in problems of unequal citizenship, rights debates, and popular constitutionalism.

Her new book, The Civic Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2014), focuses on the role of several major civic groups and social movements in shaping American constitutional creation and change. She examines 18th c. Revolutionaries, Anti-Federalists, Abolitionists, and Woman Suffragists as "civic founders" who profoundly influenced the Constitution's text, allocations of power, definitions of citizenship, and the meanings of rights. The Civic Constitution will be featured in a forthcoming symposium in Constitutional Commentary and a Critical Dialogue in Perspectives on Politics.

Prior to joining the Political Science Department, Beaumont was a Research Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She helped lead the Foundation's work on civic education, including serving as co-Principal Investigator and Director of the national Political Engagement Project. These interdisciplinary, multi-method research projects are the basis of two co-authored books: Educating for Democracy (Wiley 2007) and Educating Citizens (Jossey-Bass 2003). The books are resource texts for the American Democracy Project, an AASCU partnership including more than 240 state college campuses, and for the national report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012).

Professor Beaumont's scholarship has been recognized by a McKnight Land-Grant Junior Professorship (2008-2010), the University of Minnesota's highest research award for junior faculty. Her research has also been supported by a number of major grants and fellowships, including awards from the Ford and Hewlett Foundations. Her work has appeared in a range of publications, including The Journal of Politics, Political Theory, and the Stanford Law Review, and encompasses writing on American constitutional thought and development, constitutional and political theory, and civic education and engagement among young people.

Current Research Projects

Unruly Citizens: Dissent, Disobedience, and the Rule of Law (book project)

Gender Justice and the Limits of Legal Liberalism

The Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement: Challenges to Jim Crow Constitutionalism, Racial Violence, and Caste Citizenship

Re-Constituting Republics: Philip Pettit’s New Republicanism

Civic Discourse across Difference

Fields: public law; political theory; political socialization and civic engagement

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Political Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2000.
  • B.A.: Pomona College, Claremont, CA, 1994, cum laude.

Curriculum Vitae


  • American constitutional development; constitutional theory; civil rights and civil liberties; social movements and law; American political thought; democratic, liberal, republican theory; civic and political engagement; civic education
Courses Taught
  • Undergraduate
  • Constitutional Law I: The Supreme Court & Institutional Powers
  • Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
  • Exploring Constitutional Meanings: From the Founders to the MySpace Generation
  • Constitutional Movements: From the Revolutionaries to the Modern Tea Party
  • American Political Thought
  • Political Ideas and Ideologies
  • Democracy and Citizenship
  • Graduate
  • Constitutional Theory: Law, Power, and Rights in Political Communities
  • American Constitutional Theory and Development
  • American Political Thought
  • Democratic Theory
  • Liberalism and Its Critics
  • Modernity and its Critics
Research & Professional Activities


  • Engaged Scholarship Series, Minnesota Campus Compact: Discussion on the Civic Constitution, 2014
  • Constitutional Theory and American Constitutional Development (selected)
  • The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path Toward Constitutional Democracy. 2014. Beaumont, Elizabeth. Oxford University Press.
  • Education and the Constitution: Defining Patterns in Government, Rights, and Citizenship. Beaumont, Elizabeth. In Handbook of the U.S. Constitution, ed. S. Levinson, M. Tushnet, and M. Graber. Oxford University Press, Forthcoming.
  • Dance of the Seven Constitutional Veils: Constitutional Theory as Political Choice and Craft. Essay on Vermeule's Law and Limits of Reason and Mechanisms of Democracy. Beaumont, Elizabeth. 2010. Political Theory. 38:2
  • Founding Principles and Founding Politics: Jack Rakove’s Contributions to Constitutional Theory. 2010. Beaumont, Elizabeth. Extensions, Carl Albert Congressional Research Center.
  • The Slow Evolution of The Constitution State. Beaumont, Elizabeth. 2008. in The Constitutionalism of American States, ed. Connor and Hammons. University of Missouri Press.
  • The Military and First Amendment Rights. Beaumont, Elizabeth. In The Encyclopedia of the First Amendment. Ed. D. Hudson, D. Schultz, & J. Vile. CQ Press.
  • The Right to Petition. Beaumont, Elizabeth. In The Encyclopedia of the Constitution. Ed. D. Shultz. Facts on File.
  • Rights Talk in the Past Tense: Richard Primus's American Language of Rights. 2000. Rakove, Jack and Beaumont, Elizabeth. Stanford Law Review.
  • Civic Engagement and Education(selected)
  • Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement. Beaumont, Elizabeth, Colby, Beaumont, Ehrlich, and Corngold, (Jossey-Bass, Co-Author, 2007). Link
  • Educating Citizens: Preparing American Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility. 2003. (Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont, and Stephens). Jossey Bass.
  • Political Learning and Democratic Capacities. 2013. In ed. E. Bennion, A. McCartney, and D. Simpson. APSA Publications.
  • Promoting Political Agency, Addressing Political Inequality: A Multi-level Model of Political Efficacy: Beaumont, Elizabeth, Journal of Politics, 73 216-231, 2011.
  • Working Toward Political Agency and Empowerment: Identifying Pathways to Political Efficacy in Young Adults. Beaumont, Elizabeth. 2010. In Handbook of Research and Policy on Youth Civic Engagement, Ed. L. Sherrod, C. Flanagan, and J. Torney-Purta. Wiley.
  • Promoting Political Competence and Engagement in College Students: An Empirical Study.Journal of Political Science Education, 2006. Vol 2, No. 3: 249-270. Beaumont, E. Colby, A. Ehrlich, E. and J. Torney-Purta.
  • Beyond Civics 101: Rethinking What We Mean by Civic Education.Journal of Political Science Education, 2006.Vol. 2, No. 3: 241-247. Beaumont, E. and Battistoni, R.
  • Higher Education: Civic Mission & Civic Effects. 2006. Multi-author policy Report. ed. Peter Levine. Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • McKnight Land-Grant Junior Professorship 2008-2010
  • National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University 2009-2010
  • Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, Spring 2008
  • Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University (June 2008)
  • Graduate Research Partnership Program Grant (GRPP) 2007
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Grant (UROP) 2007
  • Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, University of Minnesota 2006
  • The Atlantic Philanthropies 2002-2005
  • The Carnegie Corporation of New York 2001-2005
  • The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) 2002-2005
  • The Ford Foundation 2001-2005
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 2001-2005
  • The Irvine Foundation 2000-2001