John "Sean"


Academic Title

Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs

Research Interests
  • Early American History
  • Labor History
  • Revolutionary America
  • Social History
Research Summary

I am an historian of early America interested in the intersections of work, family and community. Much of my research has focused on the ways that enslaved people in the post-Revolutionary Upper South struggled to gain and maintain legal freedom through the process of manumission. After relocating to Merrimack more than a decade ago, my efforts to bring more local primary sources into my survey class led me gain a deeper understanding for the tensions and challenges that Americans faced following their successful bid for independence. This led me to write a narrative history entitled “Shays’s Rebellion: Authority and Distress in Post-Revolutionary America,” which was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2015. Currently, I am working on a synthetic history that examines the broad spectrum and evolution of labor obligations in the Early Modern Atlantic World.

  • Ph.D., History, University of Minnesota
  • M.A., History, University of Minnesota
  • B.A., History, Loyola University, Maryland
Areas of Expertise
  • Gender
  • Labor
  • Nationalism
  • Race
  • Slavery
Recent Publications


“Labor Obligations in the Atlantic World,” under contract with Routledge Press.

“Shays’s Rebellion: Authority and Distress in Post-Revolutionary America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).

Journal Articles

“Recent Scholarship on Slavery and Emancipation in Baltimore,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 108:1 (Winter, 2012), 476-83.

“The Significance of Group Manumission in Post-Revolutionary Rural Maryland,” Slavery and Abolition 32:1 (March, 2011), 75-89.