This fall, I will offer a survey of North American history in the Colonial and Revolutionary eras. I especially enjoy teaching this period because it illustrates how hard it is for historians to interpret the past objectively, given our backgrounds and biases. I will also offer a writing-intensive course on religion in the making of America. We will see how religion can shape the broader picture in a variety of ways, from radical to conservative, and also how religion is usually one among many influences on historical developments.
My research interests center on the era of the American Revolution. The book based on my dissertation, John Stuart and the Struggle for Empire on the Southern Frontier (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996), concerns the British official in charge of Indian relations in Southern North America just before and during the Revolution and the impact of his policies on the imperial crisis. The perspective of John Stuart and his Indian and Loyalist allies on the Revolution brings into question the narrative advanced by the ultimate “winners” in this struggle. My work also analyzes the perspectives of South Carolina Revolutionary leaders such as William Henry Drayton and Christopher Gadsden. Currently, I am pursuing a project that examines Revolutionary leaders’ fear that British policies would undermine the kind of social order on which political freedom depended.
After thirteen years of teaching at Davidson College, followed by seminary and ten years working as an Episcopal priest, I am delighted to be back in the classroom at such a fine college, near where I grew up in Northeast Arkansas. My focus on early American history drew me to Great Britain early on and to a complementary interest in British history. I also enjoy studying other languages, particularly Spanish, and have a fondness for Mexico.
M.A. and Ph.D., Harvard University
B.A., The University of the South
History 105 – Introductory Seminar: Religion in the Making of America
History 231—North America in the Colonial and Revolutionary Eras