I am Professor of History at Ohio University, where I teach courses in early modern British and European religious, political and intellectual history. Born and brought up in Ruston, Louisiana, I did my undergraduate work at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and my graduate work at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The founding director of the George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics and Institutions, I am a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and former president of the Southern Conference on British Studies. In Easter Term 2020, I will be a Slater Fellow at Durham University.
My research concerns religion and society in post-revolutionary Britain and its empire. My most recent book is Reformation Without End: Religion, Politics and the Past in Post-Revolutionary England (2018). In addition to co-editing God in the Enlightenment (2016) and Between Sovereignty and Anarchy: The Politics of Violence in the American Revolutionary Era (2015), I have published Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Secker and the Church of England (2007). I also am co-editing Freedom of Speech, 1500–1850 with Jason Peacey and Alex Barber and, with Chris Barker, Parliamentary Sovereignty and Populism.
The two book projects on which I am now working are Hobbes's Century: England, Ireland and Religious Establishment, 1689–1742, a study of the state’s sacralization in post-revolutionary Britain, and The Religion of the State: J.N. Figgis and the Problem of Pluralism, which examines the thought of political philosopher and historian J.N. Figgis (1866–1919). Stephen Taylor, Hannah Smith and I are also engaged in an editing project of the memoirs and correspondence of John Lord Hervey (1696–1743).
My wife, Jill, our two daughters Claire and Lucy, and I live outside of Albany, Ohio.