Ashley Steenson, PhD Candidate
“Standing up against one’s party can be courageous. But it can also reflect elitism,” reads the tag line for PhD candidate Ashley Steenson’s January 27 op-ed in The Washington Post, titled “Joe Manchin might be principled. Or he might scorn his own constituents.”
Steenson crafts a fascinating connection between Sen. Manchin’s opposition to President Biden’s Build Back Better Framework and the complicated political philosophy of late-nineteenth century Senator (and later US Supreme Court Justice) Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar of Mississippi.
Lamar often stood against the majority of his party by taking an elitist stance under the guise of principle on key issues relating to the poor and working classes, which Steenson paints as a clear parallel to Manchin’s opposition to his own party’s legislation.
Luke Voyles, PhD Student
PhD student Luke Voyles and his research received not only mention in but credit for expanding The Washington Post’s investigative research and reporting on enslaving members of the US Congress in the nineteenth century.
In a February 14 article on readers’ contributions to the project, Washington Post writer Julie Zauzmer Weil described Voyles as “by far the most prolific contributor” to the Post’s ongoing research on this topic.
Through his dissertation research on Confederate veterans who later served in Congress he identified an additional thirty-nine enslavers for the Post.
Voyles also increased the number of states with known enslaving congressman from thirty-seven to thirty-eight with his addition of Charles Debrille Poston, the Arizona Territory’s first delegate to Congress.
Voyles’s meticulous research again demonstrates how the research of our past informs and is highly relevant to our present.