Atlantic World, Colonial America, American Revolution, Early Republic, American West


I have taught at Temple University since 2014, after receiving my MA from the College of William and Mary and my PhD from Johns Hopkins University. My first book, Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia, studies voluntary associations and civic culture in Philadelphia from 1682 until the American Revolution and argues for a far more capacious definition of political engagement by ordinary white men (rather than elites) than previously recognized.

My current book project, A Revolution Out of Bounds, 1763-1815, asks how the experience of the American Revolution informed the creation of new political communities beyond the original thirteen states. The Declaration of Independence seemed to champion self-determination, and yet the question of what constituted political community, who belonged (and who did not), and how new communities would relate to the larger whole provoked difficult challenges to that doctrine.  How could self-determination align with the needs of union? What work would extending republican government west do on behalf of U.S. empire?  The revolutionary settlement of the transmontane west—in both senses of settlement, as new homesteads and as a culminating agreement—was among the most important, constitutive, and ongoing problems of the era of the American Revolution.

In addition to teaching and scholarship I maintain an active role in the field of early American studies. I serve as Director of the Program in Early American Economy and Society (PEAES) at the Library Company of Philadelphia.  Previously, I served as co-editor of book reviews and then as Associate Editor for Critical Engagements for the Journal of the Early Republic.  I serve on committees for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Organization of American Historians, and Historical Society of Pennsylvania. I was co-investigator
with Dr. Rachel Herrmann (Cardiff University) in an Arts and Humanities Research Council Networking Grant (United Kingdom) through which we put on multi-year linked programming on the topic “Geographies of Power on Land and Water: Space, People, and Borders.” We expect publication of an edited volume soon.

Finally, I serve as co-convener with my colleague Travis Glasson for the Temple Early Atlantic Seminar (TEAS), a forum for graduate student works-in-progress at Temple University.

Selected Publications

  • Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia (Johns Hopkins Press, 2014)
  • “‘An Expansion of the Same Society’: Republican Government and Empire in the Early Republic,” Journal of American History, (2024)
  • "Containing Multitudes: Time, Space, the US and Vast Early America," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. Vol.78, No. 2, 261-68 (2021)
  • "1776, Viewed from the West," Journal of the Early Republic, (2017)

Courses Taught

  • HIST 0848: American Revolutions
  • HIST 0867: Founding Philadelphia
  • HIST 1100: U.S. History to 1877
  • HIST 2112: Native American History
  • HIST 3101: Colonial America
  • HIST 3102: Revolutionary America
  • HIST 4296: Writing American History - Senior Capstone
  • HIST 8101: Introduction to American History (Graduate)
  • HIST 8203: Age of Revolution (Graduate)
  • HIST 8800: Social History of Place in Early America (Graduate)
  • HIST 9200: Graduate Research Seminar