David M. Gold

David M. Gold received his law degree and doctorate in history from the Ohio State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on legal and political history, including Democracy in Session: A History of the Ohio General Assembly and An Exemplary Whig: Edward Kent and the Whig Disposition in American Politics and Law.

Listed in: History · Ohio and Regional · Legal History · American History · Law

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The Jacksonian Conservatism of Rufus P. Ranney · The Politics and Jurisprudence of a Northern Democrat from the Age of Jackson to the Gilded Age
By David M. Gold

In The Jacksonian Conservatism of Rufus P. Ranney, David M. Gold works with the public record to reveal the contours of the life and work of one of Ohio’s most intriguing legal figures. The result is a new look at how Jacksonian principles crossed the divide of the Civil War and became part of the fabric of American law and at how radical antebellum Democrats transformed themselves into Gilded Age conservatives.

“Gold’s analysis of Ranney provides a great deal of insight into the ideological world of mid-nineteenth-century northern Democrats and shows how … sectional conflict, war, emancipation, and industrialization transformed ‘radical’ political positions into ‘conservative’ ones in the space of a generation.”

Austin Allen, University of Houston–Downtown




Democracy in Session · A History of the Ohio General Assembly
By David M. Gold

For more than 200 years no institution has been more important to the development of the American democratic polity than the state legislature, yet no political institution has been so neglected by historians. Although more lawmaking takes place in the state capitals than in Washington D.C., scholars have lavished their attention on Congress, producing only a handful of histories of state legislatures.

Democracy in Session effectively demolishes the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s famous statement that “Laws are like sausages. No one should see them being made.” David Gold has written as close to a definitive history of the General Assembly—the most consequential and least understood political institution in the history of Ohio—as we are ever likely to have. With a host of colorful characters and anecdotes, Gold expertly details the contested development of procedures, customs, membership, and legislation, all the while showing how changes in the General Assembly have reflected changes in Ohio itself.”

Andrew Cayton, Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University and author of Ohio: The History of a People