Lawrence B. Goodheart

Professor Emeritus

Ph.D., Connecticut

Areas of Specialty
Capital punishment; nineteenth-century psychiatry; abolitionism
Current Research Interests
The death penalty in Connecticut

Lawrence B. Goodheart taught U.S. history and African American history at the Hartford Campus from 1990 until his retirement in 2005. A former social studies teacher in the Rochester, N. Y. schools, he has a strong commitment to excellence in public education. During 1992-1993, he was director of the Connecticut Academy of English, Geography, and History, a teachers’ institute at UConn. He was co-director of “Integrating Human Rights into Your High School Curriculum: A Professional Development Institute for Educators” that was sponsored by the Coalition of Human Rights Organizations of New England at UConn in June 2005. He has lectured for the Connecticut Consortium for Law-Related Education, Capitol Region Education Council, Institute for Jamaican Teachers at Eastern Connecticut State University, and 2010-11 Teaching American History Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. He holds a M.A. in education from the University of Rochester and is a six year veteran of the Hampton, CT Board of Education.

On the international scene, he has presented papers at conferences in Paris, Dublin, and New Castle, Australia. During 1994-1995, he taught in the Department of History at Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey) and during 2009-2010 in the Department of American Culture and Literature at Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey). He lectured at the First and Fifth International Cultural Conference at Izmir in 1995 and at Cesme in 2000. His essays on politics and culture appeared in the Turkish Daily News. As a Senior Fulbright Lecturer, he gave talks throughout Turkey. He has also served as a discipline peer reviewer in American history for the Fulbright Scholar Program. He has been on the editorial board of the Journal of American Studies of Turkey since its founding in 1995. With Professor Alfred Martinez in 2015, he walked El Camino, the famous medieval pilgrimage route, from St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  In 2011, they completed a French spur from Le Puy en Velay to Cahors.

The U.S. Department of Education, Committee for the International Exchange of Scholars, Connecticut Humanities Council, and Hartford Consortium for Higher Education have supported his endeavors. At UConn, the Human Rights Institute, Humanities Institute, Provost’s Research Fellowship, and Research Foundation have awarded him grants. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Early Republic, Connecticut History, and Journal of American Studies of Turkey. He is on the boards of the Connecticut National Register of Historical Places and Thomas Paine National Historical Association as well as past member of the State Historical Records Advisory Board and board of directors of the Hampton, CT Historical Society. The Hartford Courant has published his op-eds. During the first part of 2011, he was Acting State Historian.  At the University of Connecticut, he served on the University Senate for six years, including two years as chairman of the Student Welfare Committee.

His publications have been on capital punishment, psychiatry, abolitionism, and related issues. He is the author or coeditor of eight books and numerous essays.  The Association for the Study of Connecticut History awarded him the Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. Prize in 2012 for The Solemn Sentence of Death: Capital Punishment in Connecticut and in 2021 for Female Capital Punishment: From the Gallows to Unofficial Abolition. The majority opinion in Connecticut v. Santiago (2015) cited The Solemn Sentence of Death extensively in its momentous decision to outlaw capital punishment in the state.

Book Interview
Elizur Wright, an excerpt from American Freethought film series
The Heretical Abolitionists, an excerpt from American Freethought film series

Selected Publications

Female Capital Punishment: From the Gallows to Unofficial Abolition in Connecticut (N.Y: Routledge, 2020)

The Solemn Sentence of Death: Capital Punishment in Connecticut (Amherst: Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 2011)

Asher, Goodheart, & Rogers, eds., Murder on Trial, 1620-2000 (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005)

Mad Yankees: The Hartford Retreat for the Insane and Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003)

Goodheart and Hawkins, eds., The Abolitionists: Means, Ends, Motivations, 3d ed. (Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1995)

Goodheart, Brown, & Rabe, eds., Slavery in American Society, 3d ed. (Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1993)

Curry and Goodheart, eds., American Chameleon: Individualism in Transnational Context, (Kent: Kent State Univ. Press, 1991)

Abolitionist, Actuary, Atheist: Elizur Wright and the Reform Impulse (Kent: Kent State Univ. Press, 1990)


“Insane Acquittees and Insane Convicts: The Rationalization of Policy in Nineteenth-Century Connecticut,” History of Psychiatry, 28 (2017), 410-426.

“‘The Glamour of Arabic Numbers”: Pliny Earle’s Challenge to Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 71 (2016), 173-196.

“An Antebellum Allegory: From Rise to Fall and Youth to Death,” Mustafa Pultar, ed., A Transcultural Wanderer: A Festschrift for Gonul Pultar (Istanbul: Tetragon Yayinlari, 2014), 255-268

“Changing Legal Culture in the Early Republic: Connecticut, Neonaticide, and the Case of Clarissa Ockry,” Connecticut History Review, 53:1 (Spring 2014), 3-15.

Goodheart and Hinks, “‘See the jails open and the thieves arise:’ Joseph Mountain’s Revolutionary Atlantic and Consolidating Early National Connecticut, Atlantic Studies, 10 (2013), 497-527.

“Amerika’daki Yeni Gida Kooperatifi Uzerine Bir Degerlendirme” [“The New Food Cooperative in America”], Yemekte Tarih Var: Yemek Kulturu ve Tarihciligi (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi Yurt Yayinlari, 2012), 223-230.

“Church, State and Capital Punishment in Seventeenth-Century Connecticut,” Josh Stein and Sargon Donable, eds., Religion and the State (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012), chapter 6.

“Race, Rape, and Capital Punishment in Connecticut,” Patterns of Prejudice, 46:1 (Feb. 2012), 58-77

“Changing Use of Death Penalty Argues for Abolition,” Hartford Courant, April 24, 2011, A7

“Capital Punishment, Judge Swift, and Democratic Excess,” Connecticut Supreme Court History, 4 (2009), 1-19

“From Cure to Custodianship of the Insane Poor in Nineteenth-Century Connecticut,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, (65) 2009, 106-130

“Frances E. Abbot” and “Elizur Wright,” Encyclopedia of Unbelief ed. by Tom Flynn, (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2007), 21, 833-4

“Murder and Madness: The Ambiguity of Moral Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Connecticut,” in Asher, Goodheart , and Rogers, eds., Murder on Trial (Albany: SUNY Press, 2005), 135-154

“Joseph McCarthy’nin Gunumuz Amerikasina Kalmis Olan Ugursuz Mirasi” [“The Ominous Legacy of Joseph McCarthy for America Today”], tr. Birgul Kocak, Dogu Bati, 32 (2005), 123-139

“Dorothea Dix,” The Encyclopedia of New England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 1358-9

“Rethinking Mental Retardation: Education and Eugenics in Connecticut, 1818-1917,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 59 (2004), 190-111

“The Distinction between Witchcraft and Madness in Colonial Connecticut,” History of Psychiatry, 13 (2002), 433-444

” Remembering the Amistad:Artifacts, Abolitionism, and African Americans,” Connecticut History, 40 (2001), 139-147

“Myths, Minds and Medicine: Two Centuries of Mental Health Care,” Connecticut History, 38 (1999), 174-178

“Simeon Baldwin,” (v. 2, pp. 64-5) & “Elizur Wright,” (v. 24, pp. 11-12) American National Biography (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999)

Goodheart and Allen, “Bulworth: The Hip-Hop Nation Confronts Corporate Capitalism,” Journal of American Studies of Turkey, 8 (1998), 73-80

“The Concept of Insanity: Women Patients at the Hartford Retreat for the Insane, 1824-1865,” Connecticut History, 36 (1995), 31-47

“Jackson Demokrasisinin Sinirlari: Kizil, Siyah ve Beyaz” [“The Limits of Jacksonian Democracy: The Red, Black and White”], tr. Leyla Sen, Tarih Cevresi, 15 (Mar.-Apr. 1995), 4-13

“The Ambivalent Antisemitism of Malcolm X,” Patterns of Prejudice, 28 (1994), 3-25

“The Ambiguity of Individualism: The National Liberal League’s Challenge to the Comstock Law,” in Curry & Goodheart, eds., American Chameleon: Essays on Individualism in Trans‑National Context (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1991), 133‑150

“The Odyssey of Malcolm X,” The Historian, 53 (1990), 47-62

Goodheart, Hanks, & Johnson, “`An Act for the Relief of Females. . .’: Divorce and the Changing Legal Status of Women in Tennessee, 1796‑1860,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 44 (Fall 1985), part I, 318‑339, & 44 (Winter 1985), part II, 402‑416

“`Chronicles of Kidnapping in New York”: Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law, 1834‑1835,” Afro‑Americans in New York Life and History, 8 (Jan. 1984), 7‑15

Curry & Goodheart, “`Knives in Their Heads’: Passionate Self Analysis and the Search for Identity in American Abolitionism,” Canadian Review of American Studies, 14 (1983), 401-414

Curry & Goodheart, “The Complexities of Factionalism: the Letters of Elizur Wright, Jr. on the Abolitionist Schism, 1837-1840,” Civil War History, 29 (1983), 245-259

Goodheart & Curry, “Elizur Wright, Jr. and the Trinitarian Indictment of Unitarianism,” Journal of the Early Republic, 3 (1983), 281-296

“Abolitionists as Academics: The Controversy at Western Reserve College, 1832-1833,” History of Education Quarterly, 22 (1982), 421-433

“Tennessee’s Antislavery Movement Reconsidered: The Example of Elihu Embree,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, 22 (1982), 224-238

“Impressions of Western Pennsylvania: The Mission of Elizur Wright, Jr., 1828-1829,” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 63 (1980), 313-320

Lawrence B. Goodheart, professor emeritus of history
Contact Information
Mailing AddressUConn History Dept, U-4103, Storrs CT 06269