David Thomson, Ph.D.

David K. Thomson, PhD

Assistant Professor , History

David Thomson is a historian of the 19th century United States with a special focus on the history of capitalism in the Civil War era. Thomson received his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and joined the faculty at Sacred Heart in the fall of 2016. He teaches both halves of the United States history survey as well as electives on the American Civil War, Reconstruction, American Capitalism, and United States Foreign Policy.

Thomson is currently working on a book manuscript focusing on United States debt during the American Civil War. Drawing on archives in nine countries and a dozen states, Bonds of War is the most comprehensive study of American bonds from this era. Funding for this project has been provided by Harvard Business School, the Harvard Center for History and Economics, the Huntington Library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the University of Georgia, Indiana University, Sacred Heart University, and the Rothschild Archive. Thomson's writing on the subject has appeared in The Journal of the Civil War Era as well as the New York Times, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post.

Degrees and Certifications

    • B.A. Bowdoin College, History with Honors, 2008
    • Ph.D. University of Georgia. Dissertation Title: "Bonds of War: The Evolution of World Financial Markets in the Civil War Era"

Teaching Responsibilities

    • United States History to 1865
    • United States History since 1865
    • History of American Capitalism
    • American Civil War
    • History of United States Foreign Policy
    • Reconstruction

Research Interests and Grants

    • American Civil War
    • History of Capitalism
    • 19th Century History, Transatlantic History

Publications and Presentations

    View Publications

     “Financing the War,” in Aaron Sheehan-Dean ed., The Cambridge History of the American Civil War 3 vols. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2018).

    “‘Like a Cord Through the Whole Country’: Union Bonds and Financial Mobilization for Victory,” The Journal of the Civil War Era Vol. 6, no. 3 (September 2016): 347-75.

    “We Are in His Hands Whether We Live or Die:” The Letters of Brevet Brigadier General Charles Henry Howard (University of Tennessee Press, 2013.)


    “Civil War Debt in the Era of Emancipation,” American History Workshop, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 2018, forthcoming.

    “American Civil War Debt: An International Perspective,” Newberry Seminar on the History of Capitalism, Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, January 2018, forthcoming.

    “‘We Were Whipped in the Treasury Department’: Bonds, the US Treasury, and Winning the Civil War,” Treasury Historical Association, United States Treasury Building, Washington D.C., October 2017. 

    “Civil War Finance: The Primacy of the German States,” History Research Colloquium, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany, July 2017.

    “Bonds of War: American Civil War Debt and Global Capitalism,” Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, October 2016.

    “‘Like a Cord Through the Whole Country’: The 7-30 Bond Drive and the Evolution of National Financial Markets,” Civil War Studies Seminar, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, November 2015.

Contact Information

Office Location & Hours

  • Hours: Mon. 12:30-1:45pm Wed./Thurs. 9:30-10:45am
  • Location: HC212C

    Humanities Center of Acad Bldg HC*212C
    College of Arts and Sciences
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