Historian of American Politics, Religion, & Law
Dr. Michael Breidenbach is Assistant Professor of History at Ave Maria University. He researches the history of political, legal, and religious thought in the early modern Atlantic world, especially colonial America, the Caribbean, and England. He has a particular interest in religious liberty and the relationship between religion and politics, especially in Catholic thought. His research also explores human rights, secularization, immigration, republicanism, liberalism, medieval political thought, Catholic Enlightenment, the papacy, Vatican II, the First Amendment, constitutional law and interpretation, and the politics of geography.
His current book project is entitled, The Pope's Republic: Liberties and Loyalties in America. He is also working on a second book concerning dual allegiances, religion, and citizenship in American history. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty.
His recent work has been published in William and Mary Quarterly and Perspectives on Political Science. He has been a visiting fellow and scholar at both Oxford and Cambridge and has presented his research at Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Trinity College Dublin, Notre Dame, George Washington, Villanova Law School, and Arizona State.
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, and taught History and Politics at Princeton, Cambridge, and Northwestern. He has conducted research for the White House and has been awarded international grants for research in China and across Europe.
He is also president of a research consultancy and partner of a private equity firm. 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 obtained his Ph.D. in History from King’s College, University of 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 with departmental honors, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University with a B.A. in History and American Studies.
He remains a senior member of King’s College, Cambridge, and is also 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. They were married in 2013 at Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge, England.