I am an Assistant Research Professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where I am the Director of the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Markets and Ethics.
Like hedgehogs, some scholars spend their whole life studying one topic. But others of us are like foxes, eternally curious and moving from one thing to the next. I fall into the latter camp. I am an interdisciplinary historian, influenced by scholars in fields as diverse as economics, folklore, and ethics. My research as a historian falls into at least three categories, depending on how you slice the pie. (Following each category heading is a list of some of my relevant recent publications).
(1) Nineteenth century U.S. history.
Here I am particularly interested in ethnic groups, migration, slavery and emancipation, and the liberal society of markets and the law.
- [with Anders Bo Ramussen and Robert O. Faith] “The Impressment of Foreign-born Soldiers in the Union Amry” Journal of American Ethnic History (Spring, 2019), 76-106.
- “How the First Ten Amendments became the Bill of Rights” Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy (2017) 15:2
- [with Christian Mulligan, Hans Lind, and Brian Patrick Quinn] “Founding Era Translations of the United States Constitution” Constitutional Commentary (2016) 31:1, 1-53.
- [with Anders Bo Rasmussen] “The Danish St. Croix Project: Revisiting the Lincoln Colonization Program with Foreign-language Sources” American Nineteenth Century History (2015) 15:3, 311-342.
(2) The Dutch World (Dutch Americans, Suriname, and South Africa, etc).
- The Colonization of Freed African Americans in Suriname: Archival Sources relating to the U.S.-Dutch Negotiations, 1860-1866 (Leiden University Press, 2019)
- How Dutch Americans stayed Dutch: An Historical Perspective on Ethnic Change (Amsterdam, the Netherlands: University of Amsterdam Press, 2014)
- “A Dutch Confederate: Charles Liernur Defends Slavery in America” BMGN: Low Countries Review 132-2 (2017), 27-50.
- “McCloskey and the Dutch: Capitalist Rhetoric and the Economic History of Holland” Journal of Private Enterprise 32:4 (2017), 49-58.
(3) Philosophy and Methods of History
- The Liberal Approach to the Past (Cato Institute, 2020)
- Creative Historical Thinking (Routledge, 2018)
- (co-edited with Phillip Magness) What is Classical Liberal History? (Latham, MD: Lexington Books), 2017.
- “Why Historians have Failed to Recognize Mises’s Theory and History” Review of Austrian Economics 30:2 (2017), 1014.
My future research projects include:
A book: The Economic History of Dutch-speaking Slavery in New York, post-New Netherland
A book: Ethics for Historians
I am the editor of Sage Publisher’s economic history cases. In addition to my research and teaching, I have been active in public history projects in the realms of historic preservation and folklore. I am particularly interested in antique stores and book collecting.
I enjoy chess, woodworking, and typewriters.
I have a B.A. from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Florida State University. A proud native of Michigan, I’ve spent much of my adult life wandering the historic cities and archival centers of Europe. I live in a book-filled cabin in the mountains of West Virginia.