Patrick Peel Patrick Peel ’93

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has honored Patrick Peel ’93 with the 2010 Edward S. Corwin award for the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public law. Peel’s dissertation, which he completed as part of his doctoral program in political science at Johns Hopkins University, is titled “Building Judicial Capacity in the Early American State: Legal Populism, County Courts, and Credit, 1645-1860.”

The award committee that selected Peel’s dissertation commended his thesis for “the importance of the questions it asks, and for the catholicity and skill by which it arrives at often unsuspected answers.” The committee also praised Peel’s work to advance the understanding of “a heretofore neglected level of American government, of the interplay of ideas and material interests in the formation of a rule of law culture, of institutional development – and of the critical role the judiciary can play in the construction of successfully functioning states.”

“Receiving this award was a true honor,” said Peel, who is currently a Thomas W. Smith postdoctoral fellow in U.S. legal and constitutional history at Ohio University. “A number of people have read the dissertation and really liked it, and I’m hoping to eventually have it published.”

Peel earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and philosophy from Whitman College, where his “liberal arts education equipped him with the knowledge and tools” to help him meet his advanced academic goals, he said.

“Whitman does an amazing job of teaching students the fundamental skills of critical thinking and communication that are crucial to learning,” Peel said. “When I went to grad school, many of the issues and ideas we studied were things I had already encountered at Whitman. I now try to pass along these same fundamentals to the undergraduate students I teach.”

“Patrick was one of the brightest students I ever had the privilege to teach,” said Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, provost and dean of the faculty at Whitman. “His continued achievements speak to his passion for education, and this award honors the entire Whitman community.”

Established in 1903, the APSA is the leading professional organization for the study of politics, with more than 15,000 members in 80 countries. Edward S. Corwin was a former president of the association who is nationally known and widely published.

For more information on APSA, click here.