Richards Center director Rachel Shelden will participate in a January 6 online panel discussion on the history of contested elections. Hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, the discussion is free and open to the public. Interested participants can register here. Dr. Shelden will join distinguished historians Joanne B. Freeman, Yale University; Peter Onuf, University of Virginia; and Erik B. Alexander, Southern Illinois University to put the recent 2020 federal election in historical perspective. The profound political polarization of the nation, and the refusal of the incumbent president to accept his opponent’s election as legitimate has fueled concerns about a successful, peaceful transition of power. This is not the first time Americans have feared for the peaceful transition of power. The panelists will discuss the history of presidential transition, the role of the Constitution in establishing the traditions of transition, and the potential dangers that partisan rancor poses to democracy.