Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department
Pearl’s research interests are in early American history, especially the American Revolution. His first book, Conceived in Crisis: The Revolutionary Creation of an American State (UVA, 2020) explores how ineffective colonial governance and British imperial politics precipitated a process of state formation that was accelerated by the demands of the Revolutionary War. His current book project, The War Executives , tracks the development of American executive power during the American Revolution by looking at the wartime activities of the fledgling state governors, presidents, and plural executive councils that shaped the reach and remit of executives during the early Republic and beyond.
Pearl grew up in Allegany, N.Y., (small town on the border of New York and Pennsylvania), about two hours north of Williamsport. Like his research, his classes focus on many interesting facets of early American political and legal culture. In his 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.
- Conceived in Crisis: The Revolutionary Creation of an American State. University of Virginia Press, 2020.
- Reconsidering the Critical Period, with Douglas Bradburn. University of Virginia Press, Forthcoming, 2021.
- “Our God, and Our Guns”: Religion and Politics on the Revolutionary Frontier” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 85, no. 1 (2018), 58-89.
- “Pulpits of Revolution: Presbyterian Political Thought in the Era of the American Revolution,” The Journal of Presbyterian History, 95 No. 1 Spring/Summer 2017, 4-17.
- With Lycoming College student Maggie Slawson '17, "No Sunshine Patriots: Three Stories of Revolution on the West Branch," The Journal of the Lycoming County Historical Society, Vol. LII (2016), 2-10.
- “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
Excellence in Teaching (2011)
Distinguished Dissertation Award (2014)
Junior Faculty Teaching Award (2015)
Howard C. Berthold Faculty Research and Information Competencies Award (2016)
Research Grants & Fellowships
David Center for the American Revolution
Resident Research Fellowship 2020
Student-Faculty Research Grant 2016
Mellon Foundation Research Grant 2016
Professional Development Grant 2014
Presbyterian Historical Society
Resident Research Fellowship 2014