Ben Jackson

Ben Jackson

Leslie Mitchell Tutorial Fellow in History; Associate Professor of Modern History; Development Adviser

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My teaching focuses on modern British history and the history of political thought. I teach the first year outline paper British History 1830-1951 and the second year outline papers on British History 1815-1924 and British History Since 1900. I also teach the first year optional paper Theories of the State, the second year further subject Political Theory and Social Science, and the third year special subject War and Reconstruction: Ideas, Politics and Social Change, 1939-45. I supervise graduate students who are working on topics in modern British political history, twentieth-century British social and economic policy, and the history of modern political and economic thought.


I am a historian of modern Britain, with particular interests in political thought, labour history, and the history of economic and social policy. I have written about topics such as the political ideas of British liberalism and socialism, the conceptual history of social justice and equality, theories of industrial relations, and Anglo-American political rhetoric. My current research focuses on the rise of neo-liberalism, especially the international development of free market political and economic ideas between the 1930s and the 1960s; on the history of Thatcherism; and on the history and politics of Scottish nationalism. I am the co-editor of Political Quarterly.

Selected Publications

The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

‘Richard Titmuss versus the IEA: The Transition from Idealism to Neo-Liberalism in British Social Policy’, in Lawrence Goldman (ed.), Welfare and Social Policy in Britain Since 1870: Essays in Honour of Jose Harris (Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 147-61

‘Free Markets and Feminism: The Neo-Liberal Defence of the Male Breadwinner Model in Britain, c. 1980-97’, Women’s History Review, 28 (2019), pp. 297-316

‘Currents of Neo-Liberalism: British Political Ideologies and the New Right, c. 1955-79’, English Historical Review, 131 (2016), pp. 823-50

‘Freedom, the Common Good and the Rule of Law: Lippmann and Hayek on Economic Planning’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 73 (2012), pp. 47-68

‘Property-Owning Democracy: A Short History’, in Martin O’Neill and Thad Williamson (eds.), Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond (Wiley, 2012), pp. 33-52

Making Thatcher’s Britain (co-edited with Robert Saunders) (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

‘At the Origins of Neo-Liberalism: The Free Economy and the Strong State, 1930-47’, Historical Journal, 53 (2010), pp. 129-51

Equality and the British Left: A Study in Progressive Political Thought, 1900-64 (Manchester University Press, 2007, paperback 2011)

‘Revisionism Reconsidered: “Property-Owning Democracy” and Egalitarian Strategy in Post-War Britain’, Twentieth Century British History, 16 (2005), pp. 416-40

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