Dr Robert Saunders

Senior Lecturer in Modern British History

Location 3.04

Email: robert.saunders@qmul.ac.uk

Telephone: 020 7882 8347

I specialise in modern British history, from the early 19th century to the present,  focusing particularly on political history and the history of ideas. I taught at Oxford University from 2004 to 2013, and have held two visiting fellowships at the Huntington Library in California.  When time allows, I blog and I have a personal website


I have four main research areas:

  • the history of democracy and democratic thought in Britain
  • the political and intellectual history of Thatcherism
  • the relationship between Bitain and the European Union
  • the influence of Europe and America on British political culture

My first book, Democracy and the Vote in British Politics, explored the making of the second reform act in 1867. My second book, co-edited with Ben Jackson, was a collection of essays called Making Thatcher’s Britain, published in 2012, while my third, an edited collection called 'Shooting Niagara - and After? The Second Reform Act and its World, was published in 2017. My next book, a history of the first referendum on British membership of the European Community, is currently under consideration with an academic press. I have also written articles and book chapters on subjects including Chartism, the Ulster Crisis and the influence of the American Civil War on British politics.

As a keen singer, I am also interested in the use of music by political movements. My next book, to be published in 2016, explores the 1975 referendum on British membership of the European Community.

Current PhD Students

  • Adam Broadbent – The Politics of Monetarism 1978-1987
  • Richard Knight – The case for the South: pro-Confederate arguments in Britain during the American Civil War
  • Laetitia Strauch-Bonart – The moral case for Conservatism in post-war Britain: Conservatives and their ideas on morality between 1945 and 1979

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision 

Dr Saunders welcomes applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • The history of democracy and of electoral reform in Britain since 1830
  • The Thatcher and Major governments of 1979-97, and modern British politics more broadly
  • The idea of America in British politics, especially in the 19th century
  • British membership of the European Community/European Union, and public attitudes towards Europe
  • The relationship between politics and religion in Britain since 1801




Appearances in the media

I have conducted interviews or provided commentary for