I am an historian of the American Civil War with a particular interest in Abraham Lincoln, African American history, and U.S. constitutional history. In 2023 I will publish a biography of Appleton Oaksmith, a 19th-century sailor convicted of slave trading during the Civil War. This book explores the intersection of legal and constitutional history with the history of slavery and emancipation in the United States.
My articles have appeared in a wide variety of journals, magazines, and periodicals, including Smithsonian Magazine, Civil War History, the Journal of the Civil War Era, the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, the Maryland Historical Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, Dickinson Magazine, the Journal of Supreme Court History, Military Images, Perspectives on History, the New York Times "Disunion" blog, the Washington Post, the American Scholar, and Time. One of my articles in Civil War History won the John T. Hubbell Prize, while one of my articles in Prologue appeared in Yahoo's "Top American Civil War History Websites."
At Christopher Newport University I teach American Studies courses on the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Abraham Lincoln and race, and the history of treason in the U.S. As a senior fellow with the Center for American Studies I have the good fortune to work with wonderful colleagues, including the Center's co-directors, Nathan Busch and Elizabeth Kaufer Busch.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to the scholars and teachers who have helped me develop my abilities as a professional historian. I began my education at Penn State as a business major, but after taking a U.S. survey course with John Frantz during my first semester I immediately switched to history. Jackson Spielvogel, Wilson Moses, Bill Blair, and Thavolia Glymph all helped foster my love of American history. In particular, I thank Mark Neely (pictured above while speaking at a Center for American Studies conference at CNU in 2012) for investing countless hours in me as an undergraduate, grad student, and now professor. In graduate school at the University of Maryland, I had the good fortune to study under Herman Belz, Ira Berlin, Mark Graber, James Henretta, Al Moss, Keith Olson, Whit Ridgway, Leslie S. Rowland, and others, all of whom had a hand in shaping my career for the better.
Click here for a list of upcoming lectures.
Reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos of Christopher Newport University are courtesy of CNU.