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Dr Adam Smith


Born in the Northeast of England, Adam went to Durham Johnston Comprehensive School and then to Oxford University. He was a lecturer at Queen Mary and a Junior Research Fellow at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge before taking up a post at UCL. He teaches a range of courses in US history, but his specialism is the politics and culture of the mid nineteenth century. In 2017, the University of North Carolina Press will publish his latest book, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865. Adam's previous books include No Party Now: Politics in the Civil War North (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006). (You can watch a video of him giving a lecture about that book here.)  He's also the author of The American Civil War (New York: Palgrave, 2007), and of a short biography of Abraham Lincoln published by the History Press in 2014. He also contributed to an AHRC-funded Images of America project and to a book on the global image of Abraham Lincoln.

PhD supervision

Adam would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in research on nineteenth century America. His areas of particular interest are politics, ideology, theatre, music, and the Civil War. 

Recently completed: Daniel Peart, 'Political organisation in the United States during the early 1820s' (2011); Julia Mitchell, 'Subterranean bourgeois blues: the second English folk revival, 1945-1970' (2014); William Henry Coleman, 'Music in the American political experience, 1788-1865' (2015)

Currently supervising: Alys Beverton, 'The image of Mexico in American politics, c.1860-1890'; Mark Power Smith, 'The "young America movement": American nationalism and the natural law tradition, 1844-1861'; Gareth Hallett Davis, 'Canada in the American imagination, 1763-1861'; David Tiedemann, 'World's fairs and Anglo-American relations, 1851-1900'; Matthew Griffin, 'The environmental imagination and American politics in the nineteenth century'; Andrew Short, 'Presbyterian "home missionaries" and the American west'.

Major publications

  • The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017)
  • No Party Now: Politics in the Civil War North (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • The American Civil War (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007)
  • Lincoln (Stroud: The History Press, 2016)

For a full list of publications, see Adam's Iris profile.

Grants/projects

2005-2009, The American Way of Life: Images of the United States in Nineteenth Century Europe and Latin America, AHRC-funded project with Axel Körner and Nicola Miller

Media appearances

Adam regularly presents documentaries for BBC radio and television. A comprehensive list of his media work can be found on his personal website. Some recent appearances are listed below.

Teaching

Teaching History (second- and third-year undergraduate advanced seminar course)