Broadus Mitchell

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Broadus Mitchell (December 27, 1892 – April 28, 1988) was a historian, professor, and author. He taught economics at Johns Hopkins University from 1919 to 1939, Occidental College 1939–1941, New York University 1942–1949, Rutgers 1949–1958, and Hofstra 1958–1967. Representing the Socialist Party, Dr. Mitchell ran for governor of Maryland in 1939.


Mitchell was born in Georgetown, Kentucky. He attended the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1913, and went on to study at Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1918.

Mitchell wrote numerous books on the economic history of the South, including The rise of Cotton Mills in the South (1921), William Gregg, Factory Master of the Old South (1928), and The Industrial Revolution of the South (1930). In 1962 Dr. Mitchell wrote a two-volume biography titled: Alexander Hamilton. He subsequently wrote four more books on Hamilton's life and influence.

Throughout his tenure at Hopkins from 1919 to 1939 there were two recurring issues that landed Mitchell in trouble with the university and opened him up to criticism: his radical political and economic views as a socialist, and his outspoken stance supporting equal rights along racial lines. During his time as Professor at Johns Hopkins University those views eventually led to his resignation (1938) over the university's refusal to admit an African American student into the graduate school.

In 1932 a lynching occurred in Salisbury, Maryland. Mitchell was bothered that it received very little attention in the newspapers or by the police. Mitchell decided to do some detective work. The story went that a suspected murderer, Euel Lee, had been abducted and was hanged in front of the courthouse. Broadus talked with many members of the Eastern Shore community to obtain some basic ideas on the opinions of the people in that region. To his surprise nearly everyone involved in the event had been named, but no one had been arrested for the murder. This was very typical of the lynchings that plagued the South from Reconstruction to as late as the 1950s. Many of those who were involved were well-known people in the area. Fear of being socially ostracized, or worse, prevented most people from taking any action at all. [...] The most frustrating aspect for Mitchell was the fact that the local officials had done nothing about it. Mitchell appealed to the state, which replied that it was entirely within the jurisdiction of the local police. Taking his research public, Mitchell said, 'I abhor lynching and officials who allow it should be impeached... The Southerners whom I know and esteem do not believe that the Negro must remain dependant upon the white man and they believe in the orderly administration of law as opposed to mob violence.' Later when asked to write about his experiences at Hopkins, Mitchell mentioned his frustrations with the lynching and wrote, 'Not only did Eastern Shore peace officers do nothing to identify and arrest members of the lynch mob, but the Governor and Attorney General were quiescent.' Unlike nearly all white Southerners of his day, Broadus Mitchell was willing to publicly criticize an entire white community for violating the essential rights of a single African American man.[1]

Mitchell ran for governor in 1939 representing the Socialist party, receiving 6,773 votes representing 1.32% of the popular vote.

Mitchell died at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Tarrytown, New York.


  • The Rise of Cotton Mills in the South. Johns Hopkins Press. 1921. 
  • William Gregg: Factory Master of the Old South. Octagon Books. 1966. 
  • (co-authored with Louise Pearson Mitchell) American Economic History. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1947. p. 928. 
  • Depression Decade: From New Era Through New Deal, 1929-1941. Sharpe. 1947.  Volume 9 of Economic History of the United States: Holt Rinehart and Winston series.
  • Heritage from Hamilton. Columbia University Press. 1957. 
  • Alexander Hamilton: Youth to Maturity, 1755-1788. Macmillan. 1957. 
  • Alexander Hamilton: The National Adventure, 1788-1804. Macmillan. 1962. 
  • A Biography of the Constitution of the United States: Its Origin, Formation, Adoption, Interpretation. Oxford University Press. 1964. 
  • The Price of Independence: A Realistic View of the American Revolution. Oxford University Press. 1974. p. 374. 
  • Alexander Hamilton: A Concise Biography. Oxford University Press. 1976. 
  • Mitchell, Broadus (1966) Great Economists in their Times OCLC: 970418
  • Mitchell, Broadus (1930) The Industrial Revolution in the South ASIN B000P6ER1W


  1. ^ Rodriguez, Danton (2003). All Quiet on the Southern Front: The Bravery of Edward S. Lewis – A Look at the Policies and Politics Regarding Admission of African Americans to Johns Hopkins in the 1930s.  Quoted in Gaynor 2007.

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