David Brian Robertson

1951 - 2020
Curator’s Teaching Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Dave Robertson passed away on October 7th, 2020. Read SSN's tribute to his remarkable life and work here, and consider a donation in his honor to the Dr. David B. Robertson Memorial Scholarship in Political Science.

About David

Robertson studied the way American political institutions affect economic, labor, social, and environmental policy. He wrote about the development of U.S. organized labor and labor market policy; the design of the U.S. Constitution and its effects on public policy; and the development and impact of U.S. federalism. Robertson frequently commented on U.S. and Missouri politics and policy on local television and radio, and gave more than 150 public presentations to community groups, interest groups, and educational forums, speaking to audiences that citizens of all partisan and political persuasions.


How Unions and Environmentalists Can Work Together

What the Ryan Budget Means for Missouri Families

    Theda Skocpol ,

In the News

Opinion: "Political Eclipse Takes Away Our Faith in Government," David Brian Robertson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 5, 2017.
Quoted by Thomas Kaplan in "McCaskill’s Survival Plan in Pro-Trump Missouri: Stay in the Center," New York Times, April 14, 2017.
Quoted by Dale Singer in "UMSL Changes Course amid Budget Crunch, Will Dissolve Newly Created Public Policy School," St. Louis Public Radio, November 2, 2015.
Quoted by Mark David Hall in "The Myth of America's Religious Founding," First Things, September 17, 2015.
Quoted by Lydia DePillis in "The Conservative Case against Picking on Unions, Courtesy of Missouri Republicans," The Washington Post, May 20, 2015.
Quoted by David A. Lieb in "Missouri Republican Power Shaken by Scandal, Tragedy," ABC News, May 19, 2015.
Quoted by Jane C. Timm in "Economic Recovery? Not for Ferguson or Black America," MSNBC, March 15, 2015.
Opinion: "Did Missouri Conservatives Just Peak?," David Brian Robertson (with David C. Kimball), St. Louis Public Radio, May 9, 2014.
Opinion: "Paul Ryan's Budget Plan Could Hurt Many Missourians," David Brian Robertson (with Theda Skocpol), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 18, 2012.
Interviewed in "In Missouri’s Move to the Right, a Question of How Far," The New York Times' 'FiveThirtyEight' Blog, August 21, 2012.
Opinion: "What Killed Missouri’s Bellwether Status?," David Brian Robertson, The St. Louis Beacon, November 7, 2008.


"The Original Compromise: What the Constitution’s Framers were Really Thinking " (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Explains the reasoning of the Constitutional Convention, organized topically like the Federalist Papers but based on the actual Convention debates.
"Federalism and the Making of America " (Abingdon, UK, and New York: Routledge, 2011).
Explains the way U.S. federalism has served as a political battleground from the nation’s founding to the present, and probes how federalism helps to shape economic development and policies addressing racial, social, and environmental issues.
"The Constitution and America’s Destiny " (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).
Explains the politics of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and its impact on U.S. democracy, national authority, federalism, and national policy-making.
"Capital, Labor, and State: The Battle for American Labor Markets from the Civil War to the New Deal " (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).
Traces the development of organized labor and business in the United States, and explains why this country implemented more business-centered labor market policies than other industrialized democracies.
"Political Conflict and Lesson-Drawing" Journal of Public Policy 11, no. 1 (1991): 55-78.
Examines the politics of drawing lessons from the approaches other nations have taken to tackle key policy issues.
"The Development of American Public Policy: The Structure of Policy Restraint " (with Dennis R. Judd) (Scott, Foresman, 1989).
Explains the development of U.S public policy since 1787, with special attention to race, cities, educational and environmental policy.