Author Archives: Sean Adams

About Sean Adams

I'm the Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of History at the University of Florida. At UF, I teach courses on the Early American Republic and the History of American Capitalism. I've published books and articles on the history of the coal trade, and recently completed a book that examines the origins of America's fossil fuel dependency in the 19th century.

Using Energy’s Past to Predict the Future

One of the many reasons that historians reconstruct the past is so that we can understand our present, and perhaps even make some predictions about the future.  When I was writing my recent book, Home Fires: How Americans Kept Warm … Continue reading

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Got Coal? Now Would Be the Time To Buy

One of the many luxuries of contemporary life is the ability to heat homes at the flip of a switch or the turn of a dial.  Modern utilities allow us to draw instantly on gas, electricity, and in increasingly rare … Continue reading

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Gainesville Comes Clean on Mountaintop Removal?

The City Commission of my hometown of Gainesville, Florida recently voted against using coal from mountaintop removal sites.  The controversy over mountaintop removal is well known in states like Kentucky and West Virginia.  On the one hand, it’s difficult to … Continue reading

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Coal Rolling is the New Old Black

As a historian of the Industrial Revolution, I’m almost always pleased to see my research interests resurface in a modern setting.  I say “almost” because there has been a recent movement called “coal rolling,” in which trucks are fitted with … Continue reading

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Deadbeats: An American Tradition?

I wish that I had this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education written by William & Mary’s Scott Nelson handy when I taught AMH4373: History of American Capitalism last year.  The piece covers the long history of American indebtedness … Continue reading

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But Don’t Quote Me On That

One of the most common questions I get from students when I teach the Early Republic course is about quotations.  Is it true that Thomas Jefferson wrote that the “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time … Continue reading

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The Worst Historians and the Early Republic

Political pundits, journalists, and sometimes even ideologues draw to the Early American Republic like moths to a flame.  Whether they are written in the attempt to make a quick buck exploiting the reading public’s endless fascination with the Founding Generation … Continue reading

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