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Ralph Ketcham

Professor Emeritus, History, Public Affairs, and Political Science


Contact Information

306G Eggers Hall
(315) 443-2739

Maxwell Professor Emeritus of Citizenship and Public Affairs
Senior Research Associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute


Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1956


American political thought, era of American Revolution, public policy, comparative political cultures


Foundations of American Political Thought
Political Thought Since 1600 


Public-Spirited Citizenship: Leadership and Good Government in the United States (2015).

The Madisons at Montpelier; Reflections on the Founding Couple (2009).

The Idea of Democracy in the Modern Era (Univ. Press of Kansas, 2004).

Framed for Posterity: The Enduring Philosophy of the Constitution (1993).

James Madison, A Biography (1971, 1991).

Individualism in Public Life: A Modern Dilemma (1987).

Presidents Above Party: The First American Presidency, 1789-1829 (1984).

Research Interests

Comparative Political Thought
Citizenship and Civil Society
Political Culture of Founding Era  

Research Projects

Professor Ketcham received the George Arents Pioneer Medal during Reunion '03. The Arents is the highest alumni honor the University bestows, and recognizes career accomplishment. An internationally recognized author, scholar, and teacher of early American history, he began his career at SU as a graduate fellow in 1951, and was named Professor of American studies and Public Affairs at SU in 1963, Professor of Political Science in 1965, Professor of History in 1968, and Maxwell Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1994. 

Presently working on a manuscript, “The American Political Science Association and the Teaching of Democracy and Citizenship in the Twentieth Century.”