John Francis Bannon, S.J., Professor of History
Ph.D. University of Kentucky, 1996;
M.A. Clemson University, 1992;
B.S. University of North Alabama, 1990
I'm fascinated by early America, especially the social history of the English colonies and the creation of the American Republic. Within the general field of early American history, I have ranged fairly broadly, publishing books on siblings and kinship in colonial South Carolina, masculinity in the Early Republic, the seventeenth-century colonization of Virginia and its sister settlement Bermuda, the intersection of family and politics in the lives of leading American Revolutionaries, and, most recently, the contentious debates over ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787-1788.
Currently, I am working on a biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. Born in Antigua in 1722 and educated in England as a girl, Eliza Lucas moved with her family to South Carolina in the late 1730s. When her father was suddenly recalled to his military post in the Caribbean, Eliza, though only seventeenth years old, took over managing three plantations. She also started conducting agricultural experiments, including into indigo production. Indigo, cultivated by slave labor and marketed globally, soon became a cornerstone of South Carolina's plantation economy. Eliza presided over a brutal slave regime on her lowcountry estates, turning forced black labor into profits and prestige for her family. Eliza also independently studied law and drafted wills for some of her neighbors. In her mid-twenties, Eliza Lucas (partly, briefly) took on a more conventionally female role. She married a wealthy and politically powerful widower, Charles Pinckney, and started a family. After Charles Pinckney died in 1758, Eliza never remarried. Instead, she managed their estate (crops, houses, investments, and slaves), including through the tumultuous years of the American Revolution, while raising three extraordinarily successful children. Eliza's daughter, Harriott, shared her mother's exceptional self-confidence and capability as an independent female planter, and her two sons, Thomas and Charles Cotesworth, became accomplished diplomats and nationally influential leaders. Eliza Lucas Pinckney's remarkable writings-the largest collection from any women in the colonial South-afford fascinating insight into agriculture and commerce in the Atlantic World, southern plantations and racial slavery, eighteenth-century family values, and especially gender history. I am thoroughly enjoying investigating her life, which so far has carried me all the way to Antigua as well as back to Charleston, South Carolina, where I began my dissertation research two decades ago.
- Fred W. Smith Library Fellow, Mount Vernon, 2016
- President, Southern Association for Women Historians, 2015
- State Historical Society of Missouri Book Prize, 2015
- John Francis Bannon, S.J., Endowed Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences
- Filson Fellowship, 2001
- Archie K. Davis Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society, 2001
- Institute for Southern Studies Research Fellow, 1996
Recent Courses Taught
- World History since 1500 (undergraduate)
- Research in American History (graduate & undergraduate)
- Introduction to American Historiography (graduate)
- Family, Gender, and Politics in Early America (graduate)
- The American Revolution (undergraduate)
- The Historians Craft (undergraduate)
- American History to 1865 (undergraduate)
- The Fate of the Revolution: Virginians Debate the Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016)
- Founders as Fathers: The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, 2014)
- The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America, co-author with Daniel Blake Smith (Henry Holt Publishers, 2008)
- Southern Sons: Becoming Men in the New Nation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)
- All Our Relations: Blood Ties and Emotional Bonds Among the Early South Carolina Gentry (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)
- "An Education in Southern Masculinity: The Ball Family of South Carolina in the New Republic," The Journal of Southern History 69 (2003): 39-71.
- "Between Two Cultures: The Worlds of Rosalie Stier Calvert," Maryland Historical Magazine, 1996.
- Death and the American South (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Edited with Craig Thompson Friend
- Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South (University of Georgia Press, 2004). Edited with Craig Thompson Friend
- Discovering the American Past: To 1877 seventh edition, with William Bruce Wheeler and Susan Becker (Cengage, 2012); eighth edition, with William Bruce Wheeler (Cengage, 2016)
- Discovering the American Past: Since 1865 seventh edition, with William Bruce Wheeler and Susan Becker (Cengage, 2012); eighth edition, with William Bruce Wheeler (Cengage, 2016)
Essays in Edited Volumes
- "When ‘History becomes Fable instead of Fact': The Deaths and Resurrections of Virginia's Leading Revolutionaries," in Death and the American South, Craig Thompson Friend and Lorri Glover, editors (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
- "The Colonial South," in Daniel Letwin, ed., The American South: A Reader and Guide (Edinburgh University Press, 2011)
- "Making Southern Men: Education and Masculinity among the Early Republic Gentry," in Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South, Craig Thompson Friend and Lorri Glover, editors (University of Georgia Press, 2004)
Current Graduate Students
Former Graduate Students
Ivy Farr McIntyre, PhD 2015, "Families in Extremis: South Carolina in the Early Republic"
Luke Ritter, PhD 2014, "Anti-Catholic America: Nativism and Religious Freedom in the Antebellum West"