My research focuses on the intersections of print and politics during the American Revolutionary era.
My book project, tentatively entitled Revolutionary Networks: The Business of Printing and the Production of American Politics, 1763-1789, is a systematic study of the communications infrastructure that framed political debate during the American Revolution. Scholars of early America have long noted the importance of print in shaping public opinion during the Revolutionary era, yet they have given surprisingly little attention to printers as political actors. Revolutionary Networks reconstructs printers’ commercial distribution networks and shows how printers and their political allies used them to disseminate political news and create an intercolonial system of communications that made revolution possible. My work therefore revisits the relationship between commercial interests and political ideology. Using a series of case studies from the Stamp Act crisis to the ratification debates, I demonstrate how printers produced and shaped political news and public opinion through their everyday actions as editors and compilers of published texts. The book reconstructs printers’ business networks by following them as they moved among print shops, post offices, taverns, and other gathering places where political news was shared. In so doing, I rely heavily on book history methodology to bring an innovative perspective to longstanding questions about the origins and spread of intercolonial political resistance. Revolutionary Networks thus establishes that the commercial interests and practices of these artisan-printers had a crucial impact on the production and circulation of American Revolutionary-era political ideology.
I have placed on this page some interactive and online portions of the research.