Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 204 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Escaping the Thucydides Trap in political commentary

Thucydides is often confidently invoked as a source of timeless political principles – in reality, his narrative explores the complex, unpredictable nature of events, and the power of rhetoric

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‘The last milestone’ on the journey to full adult suffrage? 50 years of debates about the voting age

Adrian Bingham reflects on the potential impacts of granting 'Votes at 16' on the British uncertain political landscape: do sixteen year-olds have the democratic capacity (or inclination) to make informed decisions, or is this part of a wider debate about the definition of citizenship in Britain?

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Safeguarding academic freedom in a neonationalist political moment

Mike Finn shows that a century of - more or less - academic freedom in the UK cannot be taken for granted, as the state-university relationship changes and the pressures of marketisation grow, against a backdrop of neonationalist elements entering into political discourse.

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‘No promotion of homosexuality’: Section 28 and the No Outsiders protests

George Severs shows that since Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was repealed there has been little guidance from government on how to implement LGBT-inclusive education. It would be easier to resolve the current controversy, centring on the LGBT education programme in Birmingham schools, if the Department for Education issued new guidelines. 

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‘The Steady State’? Trump, administration insiders and the lessons of medieval England

A well-meaning administration trying to hold governance together in the face of capriciousness at the top has one of its most instructive parallels in the late medieval English polity, as Andrew Spencer shows.

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Promoting democracy in an ancient state: the case of Egypt

In an exciting collaboration, a contemporary historian and an Egyptologist consider the prospects for democracy in one of the world's oldest continuous states in the light of its ancient past.

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The Citizen’s Charter: towards consumer service in central government

Lorenzo Castellani traces the roots of the idea of the citizen as consumer of public services - an idea embraced by successive governments of different political stripes since John Major's Citizen's Charter in the early 1990s.

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The internet and democracy: an historical perspective

Andrew Blick places the history of the internet in the context of other histories of disruptive technologies and looks at the lessons for policy makers.

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Women in Parliament since 1945: have they changed the debate?

Luke Blaxill and Kaspar Beelen trace the existence of gendered topics in Parliamentary debate - and discover who speaks on them - using computerised textual analysis on speeches since 1945.

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The case for Brexit: lessons from the 1960s and 1970s

Contrary to Eurosceptic opinion today, the UK did not stumble blindly into the EEC in 1973, nor vote to stay on a false prospectus, argues Dr Adrian Williamson, who considers lessons from the country’s original engagement with Europe.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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