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Faculty and Staff

Nancy Beck Young

Nancy Beck Young

Phone: (713) 743-3085
Office: 542 Agnes Arnold Hall
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Nancy Beck Young is a historian of twentieth-century American Political Development. Her research questions how ideology has shaped public policy and political institutions.  Much of her work involves study of Congress, the presidency, electoral politics, and first ladies. Dr. Young is also interested in Texas political history, especially Texans in Washington. She joined the faculty of the University of Houston in 2007 after teaching for ten years at McKendree College in Illinois. She has also held fellowships at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Young has taught a wide range of undergraduate courses, including the second half of the U.S. survey, the Age of Roosevelt, Twentieth Century Texans in Washington, and Liberals versus Conservatives: Twentieth Century U.S. Politics from FDR to the present. Her classes routinely address the following issues: the development of American political institutions, the impact of public policy on the lives of average people, and the role of ideology in American politics. In each of her classes, Dr. Young uses a variety of methods to help students deepen their appreciation for American history and their critical thinking and writing skills. She has taught several twentieth century graduate level research and reading seminars on U.S. political history, U.S. historiography, and American ideologies.  She plans to develop a graduate reading seminar on the history of public policy.

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Research Interests

Dr. Young’s current book manuscript, “100 Days that Changed America:  FDR, Congress, and the New Deal,” is under contract with Oxford University Press.  She has also signed a contract with Oxford University Press to edit the “Oxford Handbook of the New Deal,” an anthology of historiographic essays that explicate the state of the field.  She has a contract with the University Press of Kansas to write “Landslide Lyndon?  The 1964 Presidential Election and the Realignment of American Political Values.”  Dr. Young is also developing another book project, tentatively entitled “The Transformation of American Politics: From Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush.” This synthetic, analytical work mixes oral history, archival research, and digital history methodologies to evaluate how and why Texans in Washington inordinately influenced national politics from the middle of the twentieth century to the present. She is writing a biography of former Texas governor Miriam Ferguson for publication with the University of New Mexico Press.

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Selected Publications

  • Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2013). Winner of the Guittard Book Award for Historical Scholarship (2014).

  • Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency, 6 vols. (New York:  Facts on File, 2013).

  • The Documentary History of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidency, 16 Vols., (Bethesda, Md.: Lexis-Nexis, 2005-).

  • Lou Henry Hoover: Activist First Lady (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004).

  • Wright Patman: Populism, Liberalism, and the American Dream (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2000). Winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress (2002).

  • (with Lewis L. Gould), Texas, Her Texas: The Life and Times of Frances Goff (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1997).

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