Historian of American Politics, Religion, & Law
Dr. Michael Breidenbach is Assistant Professor of History at Ave Maria University and 2019 Visiting Research Scholar at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He obtained his Ph.D. in History from King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholar. He was a visiting graduate student in History at the Sorbonne in Paris and earned a master’s degree with distinction in Political Thought and Intellectual History at Cambridge. He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with departmental honors from Northwestern University with a B.A. in History and American Studies.
Dr. Breidenbach's research interests concern the history of political, legal, and religious thought, especially in early America and the British Empire. He has particular interests in religious liberty, church and state, and the relationship between religion and politics. His recent work has been published in William and Mary Quarterly and Perspectives on Political Science, and he is co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty.
His current book project is entitled, The Pope's Republic: Liberties and Loyalties in Early America, an intellectual history of religious liberty and church-state relations in early America and the Atlantic World. He is also working on a second book concerning religion and citizenship in American history. His other research interests include constitutional law and interpretation, human rights, secularization, immigration, republicanism, liberalism, medieval political thought, Catholic Enlightenment and political thought, the papacy, Vatican II, and the politics of geography.
He has been awarded visiting fellowships and scholarships at St. John's College, Oxford, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford, and Wolfson College, Cambridge, and has presented his research at Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Trinity College Dublin, Notre Dame, George Washington, Villanova Law School, and Arizona State. He has also written for The Atlantic, Washington Post, First Things, Philanthropy, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Professor Breidenbach's teaching spans American history and the history of political, legal, and religious thought. Prior to Ave Maria University, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the James Madison Program and a Lecturer at Princeton University, where he taught history and politics. He has conducted research for the White House and has been awarded international grants for research in China and across Europe.
He is also founder and president of Broad Brook Research, a research consultancy, and a founding partner of Calusa Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Naples, Florida. For the past decade, he has consulted to top executives at biotechnology companies, venture capital firms, and international non-profits. His research has been published in journals such as Nature Biotechnology and Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
He remains a fellow of the Entrepreneurship Initiative at Ave Maria University, a senior member of King’s College, Cambridge, and a member of the American Historical Association, American Political Science Association, American Catholic Historical Association, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, American Maritain Association, James Madison Society at Princeton University, and Northwestern University Alumni Admission Council.
He lives in beautiful Southwest Florida with his wife, Janice Chik Breidenbach, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University, and their son. They were married in 2013 at Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge, England.