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 published 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.
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.
Currently supervising: 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'.
Recently completed: 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'; 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)
- 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.
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.
- Ronald Reagan's Last Movie, BBC News Channel, July 2017
- From Out of Town, BBC News Channel, July 2017
- The Killers, BBC Radio 3, June 2017
- America Goes to War, BBC Radio 4, May 2017
- Trump: The Presidential Precedents, BBC Radio 4, January 2017
- Abraham Lincoln and the Crisis of the Union (third-year special subject)
- Building the American Nation (first- and second-year survey course)
- The Causes of the American Civil War (MA module)
- Teaching History (second- and third-year advanced seminar course)
- Writing History (first-year core course)