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Chris Childers

About Dr. Christopher Childers

Dr. Christopher Childers is chair of the School of History, Philosphy, and Social Sciences and an associate professor of history at PSU. A Kansas native, Childers earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Emporia State University and his Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Students will experience his enthusiasm for Tiger football and his lament that Mardi Gras is not an official state holiday in Kansas as it is in the Pelican State.

In addition to teaching the American history survey courses, Childers offers undergraduate and graduate courses on Colonial and Revolutionary America, the early American republic, Kansas history, and public history. Childers is a PSU Master Advisor and has participated in continuing education for online teaching, including PSU's eLearning Academy and the Summer Teaching Innovation Grant program.

Childers’s research interests focus on the political and constitutional history of the early American republic (1776-1861). His most recent book tells the story of the Webster-Hayne Debate and its meaning to American nationalism in the early 19th century. His first book, The Failure of Popular Sovereignty, studied the development of the idea that citizens of the territories could vote on whether to permit or prohibit slavery. Childers has also written articles for Civil War History, Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, and edited collections.

Childers's latest research project is a book on the election of 1820--the last uncontested presidential election in American history. Unanimity of Indifference: 1820 and the Era of Good Feelings is under contract to the University Press of Kansas.

In his spare time, Childers enjoys spending time with his wife, Dr. Leah Childers, and his three daughters. He is also an avid, though amateur, cyclist who enjoys traveling the miles of paved country roads that lead to the small towns and old mining camps in southeast Kansas.



  • Ph.D., American History, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 2010.
  • M.A., American History, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS, 2004.
  • B.S., History, cum laude, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS, 2002.
  • B.S.Ed., Social Sciences and Chemistry, cum laude, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS, 2002.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 201: American History to 1865
  • HIST 502 /701: Special Topics: States’ Rights in U.S. History
  • HIST 502/701: Special Topics: Political Scandals in American History
  • HIST 502/700: Introduction to Public History
  • HIST 619/701: Kansas and the West
  • HIST 650/701: Colonial America
  • HIST 652/701: American Revolution
  • HIST 655/701: The Early American Republic, 1789-1848
  • HIST 813: Graduate Seminar: The Era of Good Feelings

Teaching Emphases

  • Colonial and Revolutionary United States
  • Early American Republic
  • Kansas History
  • Public History

Research Interests

  • Political and Constitutional History of the Early American Republic (1776-1861)
  • Southern History
  • Regional History



The Webster-Hayne Debate: Defining Nationhood in the Early American Republic, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

The American South: A History, 5th ed., co-author with William J. Cooper, Jr. and Thomas E. Terrill, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

The Failure of Popular Sovereignty: Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the Radicalization of Southern Politics, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012.



“The Old Republican Constitutional Primer: States’ Rights after the Missouri Controversy and the Onset of the Politics of Slavery,” in Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., ed., The Enigmatic South:  Toward the Civil War and Its Legacies. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2014.

“Interpreting Popular Sovereignty: A Historiographical Review,” Civil War History 57 (March 2011): 48-70.

“Emporia's Incongruent Reformer: Charles Vernon Eskridge, the Emporia Republican, and the Kansas Republican Party, 1860-1900,” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 28 (Spring 2005): 2-15.

Selected Presentations

“Squatter Sovereigns, Slaves, and Serfs: Defining Popular Sovereignty in Kansas,” symposium paper for “Strength Through Numbers: The Intersection of Abolitionist Politics, Freed Blacks and a Flourishing Community at Quindaro,” Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, Kansas City, KS, April 20, 2018.

“The Panic of 1819: A Watershed in American Economics and Politics,” Missouri Valley History Conference, Omaha, NE, March 2017.

“Seeking a Constitutional Middle Ground: Edward Livingston and the Webster-Hayne Debate,” Missouri Valley History Conference, Omaha, NE, March 2016.

 Liberty and Union? Reassessing the Webster-Hayne Debate in Context,” Kinder Forum on          Constitutional History Colloquium Series, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, October 2015.

Recent Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Participant in “Slavery and the Constitution,” National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, July 2018.

Summer Research Fellowship, Pittsburg State University, Summer 2018.

Chris Childers
Dr. Chris Childers
Chair/Associate Professor of History/US Political History; Early American Republic/Master Advisor

Phone: (620) 235-4324

Office: 406A Russ Hall

E-mail Chris Childers