I am a historian of Britain and its Empire, of comparative revolutions, comparative empires, and of northern Europe more broadly. I am both a deeply committed archival historian and a scholar who believes profoundly that historians should engage with the social sciences. My first book, Protestantism and Patriotism, was an entangled and comparative study of English and Dutch politics, culture, and society in the mid-seventeenth century. I traced the decline of apocalyptic thinking and the rise of notions of political economy in England and the Dutch Republic. My second major monograph, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, offered both a major revisionist account of England's Glorious Revolution and a reappraisal of the literature on revolutions more broadly. I showed that far from being an unrevolutionary revolution, the Revolution of 1688 radically transformed English state and society. The revolution, I suggest, can only be understood by placing it in a European and global context. Since 1688 was a radical revolution, I suggest, it is imperative to rethink the nature of revolutions since so much of that literature assumed that the later eighteenth-century French Revolution was the first modern revolution. My third monograph, The Heart of the Declaration, argued that by placing the American Revolution and its seminal document, the Declaration of Independence, in an imperial rather than proto-national context it becomes clear that Americans broke away from Britain not because they resented the imperial state but because they wanted a different kind of state—one that would actively promote social and economic prosperity and equality.
I am currently engaged in a number of research projects. For the past decade I have been working on a Global History of the British Empire, ca. 1650–1784.