Michael A. Blaakman
Michael Blaakman is a historian of revolutionary and early national America. His scholarship focuses on politics, empires, and North American borderlands, and his interests extend to include gender history, the history of capitalism, and microhistory.
Blaakman’s first book project, Speculation Nation: Land Mania in the Revolutionary American Republic, investigates the political and financial culture of a frenzied land rush that swept the new republic in its first quarter-century. Exploring the relationships between revolutionary politics, finance, settler colonialism, and evolving notions of property, this study argues that Americans of the founding era cast the seizure and sale of Native American land as a basis of revolutionary statebuilding. Speculation Nation reveals how that connection fueled a land market so unprecedented in intensity and scale that contemporaries and historians alike have dubbed it a “mania,” rooting the new republic’s “empire of liberty” in speculative capitalism. The project received the 2017 Manuscript Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Blaakman’s essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Journal of the Early Republic, Early American Studies, and the Journal of American History. With Emily Conroy-Krutz, he is editing a collection of essays that explore the imperial dimensions of the early American republic.
Blaakman completed his undergraduate studies at the College of William & Mary, and earned a Ph.D. in history from Yale University in 2016. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) before joining the Princeton faculty in 2018.
Photo credit: Joanna Mobley