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, 203 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.


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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Liberal-Conservative Coalitions - ‘a farce and a fraud’?

In 1886 Liberal Unionist Lord Derby said coalition governments 'were always unpopular and seldom lasted long.' On the eve of the third anniversary of the current Coalition Government, Ian Cawood, of Newman University, assesses the performance, politics and popularity of the six previous coalition governments in the last 120 years - and the implications for relations between the parties in coalition today.

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Where are all the women in politics?

Women were active voters 75 years before they received the parliamentary franchise in 1918, Sarah Richardson of Warwick University reveals. Previously unseen evidence shows that women voted in parish elections, proof, Prof. Richardson argues, that their political activity was not confined to 'soft politics' as traditionally thought. Prof. Richardson will present BBC Radio 4's Document at 8.00pm tonight to discuss Votes for Victorian Women.

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The Union and the Constitution

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‘The new politics’: parliamentary lobbying, public procurement and political reform

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Redrawing the boundaries of British democracy?  Census data and the Great Reform Act, 1832-2011

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Electoral reform dilemmas: are single-member constituencies out of date?

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‘The Big Society’: civic participation and the state in modern Britain

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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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