Van E Gosse Professor of History


I came to Franklin & Marshall in 2001, after a varied career in academia and politics, including teaching at Wellesley and Trinity Colleges, and working for national organizations like Peace Action. My teaching and scholarship have focused on the African American struggle for citizenship, and politics and culture in the Global Cold War. I first published a series of books and articles on radical movements after World War II (the New Left). This led to studying the long-term evolution of American democracy and whether  African Americans would ever become "first-class citizens." To my surprise,  this question was debated as far back as the 1790s, and black Americans were always part of that debate; see my recent book (The First Reconstruction) plus an edited collection and several articles, listed below.

From 2004 through 2023, I helped direct our on-campus "F&M Votes" campaign, a joint student/staff/faculty effort which seeks to register and turn-out our entire student body on Election Day.  I have remained politically active off-campus, as Co-Chair of Historians for Peace and Democracy (,  founded as Historians Against the War in 2003. 

I have published op-eds and blogs in a wide range of newspapers and websites, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Boston Globe, New York Times, New York Daily News, Newsweek, History News Network, Huffington Post, Organizing Upgrade, and, many of which are available at my personal site,


A.B., History, Columbia University, January 1983

Ph.D., Rutgers University, January 1992

Grants & Awards

Grants and Fellowships:

Fellow of the Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin, November 2023

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2015

Fulbright Lecturer, University College Cork, Ireland, 2005-2006

Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2000-2001

Fellow, American Council of Learned Societies, 1998-99

Excellence Fellow, Rutgers University, 1985-1989


Member, Distinguished Lecturer Program, Organization of American Historians, 2010-2013

Albert Marion Elsberg Prize in Modern History, Columbia University, 1982



The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2021).

Editor (with David Waldstreicher), Revolutions and Reconstructions: Black Politics in the Long Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).

Rethinking the New Left: An Interpretative History (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005); named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book for 2006.

The Movements of the New Left, 1950-1975: A Brief History with Documents (Boston: St. Martin's Press/Bedford Books, 2004).

Editor (with Richard Moser), The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America (Temple University Press, 2003).

Where the Boys Are: Cuba, Cold War America and the Making of a New Left (New York: Verso, 1993).

Articles and Book Chapters:

“Rights and Suffrage in the Early Republic” in Marjoleine Kars, Michael McDonnell, and Andrew M. Schocket, eds., The Cambridge History of the American Revolution, Volume 3: Reactions and Reverberations (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

“The New Left,” in Susan McWilliams Barndt, Nicholas Buccola, and Roosevelt Montás, eds., The Princeton History of American Political Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, forthcoming).

“Afterword: The Americas, North and South,” in Tanya Harmer and Alberto Martin Alvarez, eds., Toward a Global History of Latin America’s Revolutionary Left (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2021), 281-288.

“In the Woodpile:  Negro Electors in the First Reconstruction” in Van Gosse and David Waldstreicher, eds., Emancipations, Reconstructions, Revolutions: Black Politics in the Long Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020), 66-83.

“Patchwork Nation:  Racial Orders and Disorder in the United States, 1790-1860,” in Journal of the Early Republic (Spring  2020), 45-81.

“United States History Textbooks and Puerto Rican History” in “Forum: Puerto Rico and the United States at Critical Junctures,” Modern American History (July 2019), 179-182.

"Cruse, Harold Wright (8 Mar. 1916–25 Mar. 2005), radical writer and intellectual." American National Biography. 27 Jun. 2019; Accessed 27 Aug. 2019.

“Antiwar Movements in the New Century” and “David Cortright” in Mitchell K. Hall, ed.,  Opposition to War: An Encyclopedia of United States Peace and Antiwar Movements (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2018).

“The New Left,” in Dictionary of American History, Supplement: America in the World, 1776 to the Present (Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2016).

“Ronald Reagan in Ireland, 1984: A Different Cold War?” in Journal of American Studies 47/4 (August 2013), 1155-1174.

“Moving Into `The Master’s House’: The State-Nation and Black Power in the United States,” in Karen Dubinsky, Catherine Krull, Susan Lord, Sean Mills and Scott Rutherford, eds., New World Coming:  The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness (Toronto:  Between the Lines, 2009), 36-45.

"American Colonial Empire," in Peter N. Stearns, General Editor, Encyclopedia of the Modern World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

"`As a Nation, the English Are Our Friends': The Emergence of African American Politics in the British Atlantic World, 1772-1861," American Historical Review (October, 2008), 1003-1028.

"The Cuban Revolution and the New Left," in Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr, and Pamela Maria Smorkaloff, eds., The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 526-529.

"More Than Just a Politician: Notes Towards a Life and Times of Harold Cruse," in Jerry G. Watts, ed., The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual Revisited: A Thirty-Year Retrospective (New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 2004),17-40.

"Postmodern America: A New Democratic Order in a Second Gilded Age" and "Unpacking the Vietnam Syndrome: The 1973 Coup in Chile and the Rise of Anti-Interventionist Politics," in Van Gosse and Richard Moser, eds., The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America (Temple University Press, 2003), 1-36, 100-113.

"A Movement of Movements: The Definition and Periodization of the New Left," in Roy Rosenzweig and Jean-Christophe Agnew, eds., A Companion to Post-1945 America (London: Blackwell, 2002), 277-302. 

"`We are all highly adventurous': Fidel Castro and the Romance of the White Guerrilla, 1957-58," in Christian G. Appy, ed., Cold War Constructions: The Political Culture of American Imperialism During the Early Cold War, 1945-1963 (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000), 238-256.

"El Salvador," in John Whiteclay Chambers II., ed., The Oxford Companion to American Military History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 246-247.

"Black America Greets the Revolution: The African-American Press on Cuba During 1959," in Lisa Brock and Digna Castaneda, eds., Between Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), 266-280.

"`El Salvador Is Spanish For Vietnam': The Politics of Solidarity and the New Immigrant Left, 1955-1993" in Paul Buhle and Dan Georgakas, eds., The Immigrant Left (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996), 302-329.

"Active Engagement: The Legacy of Central America Solidarity," NACLA Report (March/April 1995), 22-29.

"`To Organize in Every Neighborhood, In Every Home': The Gender Politics of American Communists Between the Wars," Radical History Review (Spring 1991), 109-141.

"`The North American Front': Central American Solidarity in the Reagan Era," in Michael Sprinker and Mike Davis, eds., Reshaping the U.S. Left: Popular Struggles in the 1980's, Volume III of The Year Left (New York: Verso, 1988), 1-43.


Review of Jeffrey L. Pasley and John Craig Hammond, eds., A Fire Bell in the Past: The Missouri Crisis at 200: Western Slavery, National Impasse in Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2022), 642-5.

.Review of Bruce Levine, Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice, in American Historical Review (March 2023), 503-4.

“The Left Inside-the-Beltway,” review of Brian S. Mueller, Democracy’s Think Tank: The Institute for Policy Studies and Progressive Foreign Policy in Diplomatic History (July 2022),

Review of Marilyn Lake, Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and Transpacific Exchange Shaped American Reform, in the Journal of American History (September 2020), 489-490.

Review of Teishan A. Latner, Cuban Revolution in America: Havana and the Making of a United States Left, 1968–1992 in the New West Indian Guide (December 2019), 321-322.

Review of A. James McAdams, Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party in World History Connected (February 2019).

Review of John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco, Cuba, the United States, and Cultures of the Transnational Left, 1930–1975 in the Journal of American History (March 2017), 1084-1085.

Review of Joyce M. Bell, The Black Power Movement and American Social Work, in the Journal of American History (December 2015), 944-945.

Review of Gerald Horne, Negro Comrades of the Crown:  African Americans and the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation in the Journal of the Early Republic (Summer 2013), 353-355.

Review of Simon Hall, American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements since the Sixties, in the Journal of American History (March 2012), 1213.

Review of Hasan Jeffries, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt, in the Journal of Southern History (February 2011), 223-225.

Review of Douglas R. Egerton, Death Or Liberty: African Americans And Revolutionary America, in the Journal of American Studies (April 2010), 453-454.

Review of John Michael, Identity and the Failure of America: From Thomas Jefferson to the War on Terror, in the Journal of American History (December 2009), 938-939.

Review of Leslie Butler, Critical Americans: Victorian Intellectuals and Transatlantic Liberal Reform, in the American Historical Review (Spring 2008), 520-521.

Review of Cynthia A. Young, Soul Power: Culture, Radicalism, And The Making Of A U.S. Third World Left, in Left History (Fall-Winter 2007), 161-162.

Review of William H. Chafe, Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America in the Journal of Southern History (February 2007), 215-216.

“Heroes and Villains:  Picturing the IWW” [review of Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman, eds., WOBBLIES! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World] in Reviews in American History (March 2006), 57-63.

Review of Fritz Fischer, Making Them Like Us: Peace Corps Volunteers in the 1960s in the Journal of American History (June 2000), 307.

Review of Arthur Marwick, The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, and the United States, c. 1958-c. 1974 in the Journal of American History (December 1999), 1311-1312.

"Mickey Mouse and Chain Gangs, Hot Jazz, and the CIO" [review of Michael Denning, The Cultural Front] in American Quarterly (December 1999), 931-939.

Review of Christian Smith, Resisting Reagan: The U.S. Central America Peace Movement, in Peace and Change (January 1998),103-107.

"Consensus and Contradiction in Textbook Treatments of the Sixties," Journal of American History (September 1995), 658-669.

Review of Michael E. Brown, Randy Martin, Frank Rosengarten and George Snedeker, eds., New Studies in the Politics and Culture of U. S. Communism, in Science and Society (1995), 107-109.

“Our Left” (review of Mari Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas, eds., The Encyclopedia of the American Left) in Radical History Review (Winter 1994), 206-212.

"Paterson, 1913" [review of Anne Huber Tripp, The I.W.W. and the Paterson Silk Strike of 1913 and Steve Golin, The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike 1913] in Radical History Review (Fall 1990), 169-176. 


"Home Rule: An Interview with Amiri Baraka," in "Transnational Black Studies," Special Issue of the Radical History Review 87 (Fall 2003), 109-126.

"Red Feminism: A Conversation with Dorothy Healey," Science and Society (Winter 2003), 511-518.

"Locating the Black Intellectual: An Interview with Harold Cruse," Radical History Review (Spring 1998), 96-120, reprinted in William Jelani Cobb, ed., The Essential Harold Cruse: A Reader (New York: Palgrave, 2002), 281-297.

Journals Edited:

“Irish and World Histories” (with Peter Hession and Adrian Beatty), Radical History Review (Spring 2022).

“The Global Anti-Apartheid Era, 1946-1994” (with Alex Lichtenstein and Lisa Brock), Radical History Review (forthcoming, 2014).

"The Irish Question" (with Donal O Drisceoil and Conor McGrady), Radical History Review (Spring 2009).

"Terror and History," Radical History Review (Winter 2003).

"Market, Politics, Identities: What's Left" (with James Livingston), Radical History Review (Winter 2000).

"Past Politics, Present Questions" (with Eliza Reilly & Amber Hollibaugh), Radical History Review (Spring 1998)."Imperialism: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis?", Radical History Review (Fall 1993).


Invited Lectures and Conference Organizing:

“After the Fall:  Anti-Intervention and Solidarity Politics in Congress, 1975-2000” at “Beyond Consensus: New Histories of American Liberalism” conference held at Trinity College Dublin, June 12-13, 2023.

With David Waldstreicher, organized a conference on "Emancipations, Reconstructions, Revolutions: African American Politics and U.S. History in the Long 19th Century, 1776-1920," sponsored by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, February 10-11, 2017.

Invited Commentator, “The Intellectual Cultures of Revolution in Latin America:  A Transnational Perspective,” conference held at the Institito Mora, Mexico City, June 9-10, 2016.

Principal Organizer for "From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador's Peace Process," sponsored by Columbia and NYU, March 30-April 2, 2016,

“‘A Large Body of Negro Votes Have Controlled the Late Election’:  Black Citizenship Politics in Pennsylvania, 1790–1838,” Seminar at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, November 13, 2015.

“First Reconstruction:  The Origins of African American Politics, 1790-1860,” Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, February 4, 2015.

“‘We Are Americans!’ The Ideology of Black Republicanism Before the Civil War,” Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on Africa and Its Diasporas, York University, May 9, 2014.

“Dirty Wars:  Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Americas, 1959-1994,” Fifth Annual Empire and Solidarity in the Americas conference, University of New Orleans, October 12, 2012.

“We Are Americans:  The Ideology of Black Republicanism Before the Civil War,” The Fire Every Time: Reframing Black Power Across the Twentieth Century and Beyond conference, College of Charleston/Avery Research Center, September 21-22, 2012.

Panelist, “State of the Field: The Long Civil Rights Movement: Applications and New Directions,” Annual Meeting of the Organization of American History, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 20, 2012.

"We are Americans':  Rethinking the Origins of Black Politics in Antebellum America," in the “Conversations Lecture Series,” Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University, November 4, 2011.

“Ronald Reagan in Ireland: A Different Cold War?,” at the Columbia Seminar on 20th Century Politics and Society, Columbia University, September 22, 2011.

“Ronald Reagan in Ireland: A Different Cold War?,” at the Center for the United States and the Cold War Seminar, New York University, March 3, 2011.

“The Wretched of the Earth in America’s Public Spaces,” at “The Long Civil Rights Movement” conference, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, April 4, 2009.

"Rethinking Cold War History: The U.S. and the Cuban Revolution, 1956-1962," American Social History Project workshop for high school teachers, New York City, March 24, 2009.

“America and the Sixties,” keynote at conference on “The 1960s in Canada,” at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, August 21-23, 2008.

"The Eisenhower Administration and Decolonization in Africa," Eisenhower Center at Gettysburg College Workshop for High School Teachers, July 7, 2008.

"Moving Into the Master's House: The State-Nation and Black Power in the United States," keynote presentation at the New World Coming: The Global Sixties conference, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, June 14, 2007.

"`It Is Not A True Democracy, But A Bastard Republicanism': The Moral Economy of Black Politics in the Early Republic," in "History Workshop" series sponsored by the History Department at the University of Delaware, February 27, 2007.

"How `Black Power' Remaps American Political History," keynote presentation for Re-Mapping the United States Micro-Course at the Institute for Critical United States Studies, Duke University, February 17, 2006.

"The War on Iraq and U.S. Foreign Policy," Annual Committee on Peace Studies Lecture, Purdue University, April 20, 2005.

"Making Sense of the Cold War, At Home and Abroad," presented at American Social History Project Teaching American History workshop for high school teachers, New York City, March 14, 2005.

"Contemporary America," a series of lectures presented at the Center for the Study of the United States, University of Havana, May 14-19, 2003.

Conference Papers:

“Huckstering in Cork,” at the Annual Meeting of the Irish Association for American Studies in Cork, Ireland, April 13, 2019.

Moderator of Roundtable on "Two More Years of Trump: What Is to be Done?," at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago, January 4, 2019.

 “Patchwork Nation: Racial Order and Disorder in American History,” at the Annual Meeting of the Irish Association for American Studies in Dublin, April 27, 2018.

“U.S. History Textbooks and Puerto Rican History” in a roundtable, “Why Puerto Rico Matters to Historians of the United States,” at the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American History, Sacramento, California, April 13, 2018.

“How the Irish Became White Nationalists," at the Annual Meeting of the Irish Association for American Studies in Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 29, 2017.

"What is the responsibility of historians towards the Israel/Palestine conflict?" at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, January 3, 2015.

“Ronald Reagan in Ireland, 1984: A Different Cold War?,” given at the Annual Meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies, New York City, April 23, 2007. 

"What David Walker Knew: Leveraging Black Power in the British Atlantic, 1772-1861," given at the Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association, Oakland, California, October 24, 2006.

"Rethinking the Black Republicans, 1880-1930," presented at the Eleventh Annual Central Pennsylvania Consortium Africana Studies Conference, Franklin and Marshall College, April 1, 2005.

"Rethinking the Historiography of Black Nationalism and Black Power," presented at the annual conference of The Historical Society, Boothbay Harbor, Maine, June 5, 2004.

"The Appeal of the Cuban Revolution: Yanqui Fidelismo In Its Various Guises," presented at the Hispanic Caribbean Conference of the Central Pennsylvania Consortium, Dickinson College, October 16, 2003.

"The Terms of Black Power," presented at the Works-in-Progress series, Rutgers University History Department, October 25, 2002.

"Detroit, 1946-1964 and the Rise of `Premature' Black Power," a talk for the English Graduate Students Association, George Washington University, March 2000.

"Unpacking the `Vietnam Syndrome': Popular Anti-Interventionism and Chile Solidarity, 1973-1979," presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, New York City, January 1997.

"The Central America Solidarity Movement," presented at the 1995 International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Washington DC, September 1995.