Dave Thomson Among Inaugural Recipients of Franklin College Liverpool Fellowship

In the spring of 2014, the Franklin College Doctoral Student Short-Term International Research Fellowship sent its inaugural cohort to Liverpool. The five doctoral students from UGA that recently traveled to the University of Liverpool are new participants in an exchange program between the two universities that has already seen several professors from the UGA History Department collaborating with colleagues at the University of Liverpool. Among the graduate students selected for the 2014 program was Dave Thomson of the History Department.

Dave Thomson, a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Stephen Mihm, is researching a dissertation focused on Union finance during the Civil War with a concentration on Union bond markets. Specifically Thomson is interested in the war “as sold” by Union financiers, the men who sold these securities, the language in which they marketed their financial instruments, and the host of characters that purchased these acts of confidence in the imperiled Union. This examination of language is crucial, especially as financiers utilized rhetoric in which the war became contingent on a faith in capitalism constructed around the concepts of Union, democracy, free labor, and the rewards (personal and national) of a centralizing economy. As Thomson's work examines Union finance, there is a plethora of transatlantic connections that need to be examined. In February 2013, Thomson used a Willson Center Graduate Research Award to conduct valuable research at British financial institutions in London. There Thomson spent twelve days researching financial actors at the Rothschild Bank Archives as well as the Barings-ING archives.

Thomson's recent overseas trip expanded his research to archives in Liverpool—the second largest financial market in Britain during the time of the war. Specifically the University of Liverpool houses collections including the papers of William Rathbone (MP of Liverpool during the Civil War) and the papers of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society, a group in touch during the war with American equivalents in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston discussing trade (and thereby finance) at length. The city of Liverpool's public library, its City Archives, and various ecclesiastical archives also proved an important site for Thomson's research.