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, 198 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.


‘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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Magna Carta and contemporary constitutional change

The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is an opportunity to enrich constitutional debates today argues Dr Andrew Blick, who challenges misconceptions about English and UK constitutional history. 

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Colour-blind conservatism and public policy from Reinhold Niebuhr to Obama

During the Civil Rights Movement, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr predicted the lag in racial equality that continues in America today. In assessing Niebuhr’s influence, Professor Gideon Mailer, of the University of Minnesota, argues that his ideas – appropriated across the political spectrum - could help combat inequalities in America today.  

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The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

As the White Paper Scotland's Future is published, Dr Kieran Williams, of Drake University, examines Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce' of 1992 to reflect on the major issues for Scottish independence today. He argues that dissolving a federation (to create the Czech and Slovak republics) is very different from removing one part of an ongoing union - Scotland gaining independence from the UK.

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Why have no bankers gone to jail?

Dr James Taylor argues that political will, not tougher legislation, is needed to restore trust in the City and the state. Effective legislation already exists - dating from the nineteenth century and strengthened since 1900, contrary to popular perceptions of the Victorian era's uncontrolled capitalism. The Victorians took transgression seriously - with important economic and social effects, which today's policy makers should be aware of.

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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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