Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
Website URL
applied history, foreign affairs, diplomatic history, America and the world
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Personal Info

About Me

I am an Ernest May Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center. 

My research explores how American citizen diplomats created strategies to help shape a global environment favorable to U.S. interests and how they created a previously unseen type of democratic diplomacy at the beginning of the long nineteenth century (1783-1818). By encouraging person-to-person interactions abroad, the U.S. government gave public diplomats power and latitude to create peaceful dialogues between the U.S. and representatives of foreign governments; establish economic priorities; and create transnational spaces in which larger numbers of Americans could participate in diplomatic engagement. By looking at the historic diaries and activities of American citizen diplomats from more than a dozen archives in four countries, my dissertation frames American public diplomacy as necessary for national survival in a political moment of great uncertainty. To understand the role of the citizen diplomat, I believe, is to understand a transitive moment in global diplomacy after the American Revolution and before the Congress of Vienna, which routinized diplomatic practices between nations. It is also to understand the shift in the relationship between governments and their citizens abroad, as well as the redefinition of diplomatic service in the age of revolutions.

Recent Publications

Discussant, H-Diplo Roundtable on Verney, “A Great and Rising Nation” ( June 2023)

‘“Our Proud Spirited Fellows’: The American Navy in Public Diplomacy with South America,” chapter in Sea Power by Other Means (Kiel University Press, May 2023)

Book Review of “Jeanne E. Abrams, A View from Abroad:  The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe, Journal of the Early Republic (January 2022)

“Pandemic Politics:  Lessons from the United States’ First Epidemic” Chatham House and International Affairs (August 2020)

“The Diplomatic Character(s) of the Early Republic” Passport:  The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review 50, no. 1 (April 2019)

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States and the World
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, North America, Pacific, United States
Expertise by Chronology
4, 5, 6
Expertise by Topic
American Revolution, American Founding Era, American Presidents, Capitalism, Diplomacy, Economic History, Gender, Government, Material Culture, Military, Politics, Public History, Women