B.A. in history and secondary education, Providence College (1999)
M.A. in history, Boston University (2001)
Ph.D. in United States history, Boston University (2006)
My primary scholarly interests are the American Revolution and Early Republic, the Civil War, the American presidency, American military and naval history, and Rhode Island history. I am particularly interested in how the experiences of Americans during the colonial and revolutionary periods shaped the creation of political and military institutions in the early American republic. My first book examined the national debate concerning the establishment of an academy to educate American naval officers, a debate that began during the American Revolution and continued until the founding of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in 1845. The book uses the naval academy issue as a way to study the controversial creation of a professional military officer corps in the early United States. My second book will study the evolution of the president's commander in chief powers beginning with what the framers of the Constitution originally intended following America's revolutionary military experience and continuing with the development of the presidency and the commander in chief role from George Washington through Abraham Lincoln.
I encourage my students to view the study of history as an intellectual challenge that not only broadens their perspective, but also helps them to master important skills that will contribute to their future professional success. The reading and writing assignments in my courses require students to think critically, form ideas and clearly express those ideas. One of my goals as a teacher of history is to help my students become informed and engaged citizens who take their civic responsibilities seriously. Since the earliest days of the American republic, the founders emphasized the importance of education in a democratic nation, which requires the participation of citizens who make informed decisions on public issues and who make meaningful contributions to their society. In today's global community, the perspective on the present provided by contemplation of the past is even more important. An understanding of history helps students become productive members of society by providing them with the knowledge, perspective and skills they need to find solutions to problems and improve the lives of others.