Colonial North America and the British colonies of the Caribbean.
Dr Thompson has published on the social and cultural history of Britain's colonies in North America, 1607-c.1800. His current research interests lie in seventeenth century America and the the anglophone Caribbean.
David Walker's Nationalism -- and Thomas Jefferson's
Discusses David Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World in conjunction with the history of early American nationalism
The Logic of Slavery and the Language of Violence in America's Associational Moment
The Logic of Political Association and the Logic of Chattel Slavery in Revolutionary America
Between Sovereignty and Anarchy considers the conceptual and political problem of violence in the early modern Anglo-Atlantic, charting an innovative approach to the history of the American Revolution.
“I am an Indian”: Reading Robert Beverley’s The History and Present State of Virginia.
'I have Known': Thomas Jefferson, Experience, and Notes on the State of Virginia
Aristotle and King Alfred in America
Thomas Jefferson read Latin and Greek authors throughout his life and wrote movingly about his love of the ancient texts, which he thought should be at the core of America's curriculum. Yet at the same time, Jefferson warned his countrymen not to look to the ancient world for modern lessons and deplored many of the ways his peers used classical authors to address contemporary questions. As a result, the contribution of the ancient world to the thought of America's most classically educated Founding Father remains difficult to assess. <br><br>This volume brings together historians of political thought with classicists and historians of art and culture to find new approaches to the difficult questions raised by America's classical heritage. The essays explore the classical contribution to different aspects of Jefferson’s thought and taste, as well as examining the significance of the ancient world to America in a broader historical context. The diverse interests and methodologies of the contributors suggest new ways of approaching one of the most prominent and contested of the traditions that helped create America's revolutionary republicanism.
Biography & Autobiography
Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia
'Twas Honest old Noah first planted the Vine
And mended his morals by drinking its Wine.
—from a drinking song by Benjamin Franklin
There were, Peter Thompson notes, some one hundred and fifty synonyms for inebriation in common use in colonial Philadelphia and, on the eve of the Revolution, just as many licensed drinking establishments. Clearly, eighteenth-century Philadelphians were drawn to the tavern. In addition to the obvious lure of the liquor, taverns offered overnight accommodations, meals, and stabling for visitors. They also served as places to gossip, gamble, find work, make trades, and gather news.
In Rum Punch and Revolution, Thompson shows how the public houses provided a setting in which Philadelphians from all walks of life revealed their characters and ideas as nowhere else. He takes the reader into the cramped confines of the colonial bar room, describing the friendships, misunderstandings and conflicts which were generated among the city's drinkers and investigates the profitability of running a tavern in a city which, until independence, set maximum prices on the cost of drinks and services in its public houses.
Taverngoing, Thompson writes, fostered a sense of citizenship that influenced political debate in colonial Philadelphia and became an issue in the city's revolution. Opinionated and profoundly undeferential, taverngoers did more than drink; they forced their political leaders to consider whether and how public opinion could be represented in the counsels of a newly independent nation.
Henry Drax's Instructions on the Management of a Seventeenth-Century Barbarian Sugar Plantation
In 1679, on the eve of his departure for England, Henry Drax drew up a meticulously detailed document describing how he wished his overseer, Richard Harwood, to run the Drax plantations and manage the three hundred slave laborers. Drax was among the first planters on Barbados to integrate all aspects of sugar production on a single site and to employ “cane-hole” planting techniques; both practices came to characterize the industry across the Caribbean as a whole. This piece offers a critical edition of Drax’s document and an interpretive essay stressing the role played by environmental and agronomic factors in shaping labor relations within what Drax referred to as his “family” of workers. Drax’s “Instructions,” reproduced in full, offers a wealth of detail of interest to historians of Barbados and to historians of plantation slavery.
Inventive Localism in the Seventeenth Century
The Thief, the Householder, and the Commons: Languages of Class in Seventeenth-Century Virginia