Beienburg, Sean

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Princeton University


The U.S. Constitution, American Political Development and Thought, federalism, executive power, Prohibition


Effective June 1, 2018, I have left Lehigh University to take a position at Arizona State University. I may be reached there at sbeienbu [at]

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, graduating in 2008 with majors in politics and history, and completed my Ph.D. at Princeton University in New Jersey in 2015. I started teaching at Lehigh in fall 2015.

My teaching and research interests include the Constitution and constitutional law, American political development and American political thought, federalism and state politics, executive power (both presidential and gubernatorial),  parties and interest groups, 19th and early 20th century political and constitutional history, and Prohibition. I am currently finishing two book manuscripts, one about the states' fight against national Prohibition in the 1920s (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) and the other on states as constitutional interpreters between Reconstruction and the New Deal.

I am also the administrator of Lehigh's Tresolini Lecture in Law series. (2017 lecture)

Publications (peer-reviewed journals):

"Progressivism and States' Rights: Constitutional Dialogue between the States and Federal Courts on Minimum Wages and Liberty of Contract." American Political Thought (accepted).

"Neither Nationalism nor Nullification: The Battle for the States' Rights Middle Ground During Prohibition." American Political Thought (forthcoming May 2018).

"The People Against Themselves: Rethinking Popular Constitutionalism," Law and Social Inquiry (2016):242-66. (with Paul Frymer)

"Contesting the U.S. Constitution through State Amendments," Political Science Quarterly (2014): 55-85

"A Pilgrimage to the Disneyland of Faith," PS: Political Science and Politics  (2010): 359-61. (with Justin Crowe and Susan McWilliams)


Publications (law-review)

"States' Rights Gone Wrong? Secession, Nullification, and Reverse-Nullification in Contemporary America," Tulsa Law Review (2018) 191-204.


Publications (popular)

"Prohibition, then and now," US News and World Report (December 2016)

"Reflections on the Revolution in Gotham: Of Burke and Batman," Pop Matters (2012)


Courses Taught:

POL 001 American Political System (Introduction to American Government)

POL 351 Constitutional Law: (Powers and Structures)

POL 352 Constitutional Law II: Civil Rights and Liberties