History: Assistant professor
American Studies: Co-coordinator
Special Interest: My research and teaching interests center upon the political, religious, social and legal history of America to 1877. In my research, I address salient questions related to local governance, British imperial politics, and state formation during the American Revolution.
I grew up in Allegany, NY (small town on the border of NY and PA), about two hours north of Williamsport. For the past 11 years, I've been living in Rochester, NY. I went to a small liberal arts college in Rochester, NY for my undergrad, which gave me an appreciation for a liberal arts education. When I'm not teaching, researching or writing, I enjoy reading comic books, playing golf, watching Dr. Who, and hanging out with my wife and daughter.
Like my research, my classes focus on many interesting facets of early American political and legal culture. In my classes, students explore fascinating topics such as the Salem Witch Trials, the vigilante actions of Regulators in colonial North America, the popular politics of the American Revolution, and the intersection of law and society in early America. Starting next year I will also be teaching a class on the American Civil War and Reconstruction.
Some of the classes I teach:
HIST 125 United States History to 1877
HIST 120 Latin American History
HIST 159 Salem Witch Trials
HIST 226 Colonial America and the American Revolution
HIST 233 Civil War and Reconstruction
HIST 447 Revel, Riot & Rebellion in Early America
HIST 358 Early American Law & Society
HIST 449 Historical Methods (in rotation with department faculty)
Current Research Projects
I am currently working on a book project on the American Revolution entitled, Forged in Crisis: The American Revolution and the Rise of a Commonwealth, 1740-1790. In this work I show that the revolution in Pennsylvania, rooted in long existing structural problems in the empire, fundamentally altered governing mechanisms of the state while at the same time giving expression to a political ideology emphasizing the “public welfare.” Combined, these two revolutionary developments provided the basis of a powerful regulatory state that would affect the everyday lives of citizens well into the nineteenth century.
I am also working on an essay entitled “Such a Spirit of Innovation: The American Revolution and the Creation of States” which focuses on the revolutionary statecraft of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Pulpits of Revolution: Presbyterian Political Thought in the Era of the American Revolution, Journal of Presbyterian History (Accepted and Forthcoming, 2017).
- "Our God and Our Guns": Religion and Politics on the Revolutionary Frontier" in The Making of the Trans-Appalachian West: Society, Culture, and Peoples, 1754-1832, eds. Darren Reid and Thomas Rodgers (McFarland: Forthcoming 2014)
- “Franklin’s Turn: Imperial Politics and the Coming of the American Revolution” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 136 no. 2 (April 2012), 117-139
- Review of Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution, by Jonathan R. Dull. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Vol. 136, No. 3 (July 2012): 302-30
- Review of Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People out of Doors, by Benjamin Irvin. Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies. Vol. 79, No. 3 (2012): 317-320.
Distinguished Dissertation Award (2014)
Excellence in Teaching (2011)
Research Grants & Fellowships
Professional Development Grant 2014
Presbyterian Historical Society
Resident Research Fellowship 2014
David Library of the American Revolution
Library Resident Research Fellowship 2012
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
Jacob M. Price Visiting Research Fellowship 2012
American Philosophical Society
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship 2011
Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies
Library Resident Research Fellowship 2010
Kramer Doctorial Research Grant 2012
O'Neil Fund Doctorial Research Grant 2011
Dissertation Year Fellowship 2011
Teaching Assistantship 2008-2011