The University of Georgia, Department of History
Welcome Graduate Undergraduate People Resources Events Contributions Workshops
Peter C. Hoffer

Early American history and legal history

Professor and Distinguished Research Professor
Ph.D. Harvard 1970

Office: 317 LeConte
Office Hours: T/R 1:00-2:00pm
Phone: (706) 542-2519

[Download CV]

Hoffer's most recent work includes Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, and Fraud in the Writing of American History (PublicAffairs, 2004); Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped American History (PublicAfairs, 2006); The Brave New World: A History of Early America (Johns Hopkins, 2007); The Supreme Court: An Essential History (Kansas, 2007); The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr (Kansas, 2008); and The Historian's Paradox: A Philosophy of History for Our Times (NYU, 2008). In 2010, Cry Liberty, his book length essay on the Stono Rebellion appeared from Oxford University Press, and his Nation of Laws: America's Incomplete Search for Justice was published by Kansas. In 2011, Kansas will release his Free Press Crisis of 1800: The Trial of Thomas Cooper for Seditious Libel. Johns Hopkins has accepted his When Benjamin Franklin Met the Reverend George Whitefield: Revivalism, Enlightenment, and the Power of the Printed Word in Early America in its Witness to History series. Hoffer has won the Choice "Outstanding Academic Title" award four times, in 1991, 1992, 2005, and 2008.

Research and Teaching Interests

[Cultural & Intellectual]
[Early America]
[Political & Legal]

Selected Publications

When Benjamin Franklin Met The Reverend Whitefield: Enlightenment, Revival and the Power of the Printed Word (Johns Hopkins, 2011) More Info

The Free Press Crisis of 1800: Thomas Cooper's Trial for Seditious Libel (Kansas, 2011) More Info

Cry Liberty: The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739 (Oxford, 2010) More Info

Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History (University Press of Kansas, 2010) second, enlarged edition More Info

A Nation of Laws: America's Imperfect Search for Justice (Kansas, 2010) More Info

The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr (Kansas, 2008) More Info

The Historian's Paradox: The Study of History in Our Time (NYU, 2008) More Info

The Brave New World: A History of Early America (Hopkins, 2007) More Info

The Supreme Court: An Essential History (Kansas, 2007) co-edited More Info

Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America (PublicAffairs, 2006) More Info

Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, and Fraud in the Writing of American History (PublicAffairs, 2004)

Sensory Worlds in Early America (Hopkins, 2003) More Info

The Great New York Conspiracy of 1741: Slavery, Crime, and Colonial Law (University Press of Kansas,, 2003) More Info

The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Legal History (University Press of Kansas, 1997) More Info

The Devil's Disciples: The Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials (Hopkins, 1996) More Info

Courses Taught

HIST2111: U.S. History to 1865 [Syllabus]

HIST2111H: U.S. History to 1865, Honors [Syllabus]

HIST3060: Colonial and Revolutionary America [Syllabus]

HIST4060: American Legal History [Syllabus]

HIST8111: Colloquium in North American History and United States History to 1865 [Syllabus]

HIST8860: Seminar in History [Syllabus]

Dissertations Supervised

Hulbert, Kylie A., ""Vigorous & Bold Operations": The Times and Lives of Privateers in the Atlantic World During the American Revolution" (In Progress)

Smith, Solomon K., "'A profound secret in the breast of a very few': Industrial Ventures in the Chesapeake Region, 1720-1820" (2009)

Maysilles, Duncan, "Ducktown Smoke: Environment, Law, and the Supreme Court's First Air Pollution Case, 1832-1918" (2007)

Griffith-Hughes, Elisabeth, "The Mighty Experiment: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Jamaica" (2004)

Keeling, John Robert, "Planters and the Culture of Commerce in Antebellum Louisiana: The Case(s) of John Fitz Miller" (2003)

Moore, Peter N., "This World of Toil and Strife: Land, Labor, and the Making of an American Community, 1750-1805" (2001)

Ebel, Carol Sue, "First Men: Changing Patterns of Leadership on the Virginia and Georgia Frontiers, 1642-1815" (1996)

MA Theses Supervised

Smith, Benjamin, "Impatient and Pestilent: Epidemic Disease and the Reopening of the Slave Trade in Early Republic South Carolina" (2013)

Safane, Aaron, "Personalities and Partisanship: How the Rehnquist Court Reached Its Civil Rights Decisions" (2007)

Wilson III, Charles Hooper, "Testators, beneficiaries, and bondservants" (2006)

Chua, Terence Seng Leng, ""Messing with the Mouse": Copyright, Parody, and the Countercultural Wars in Walt Disney v. The Air Pirates" (2005)

Fuller, Lisa Marie, ""To Obtain the Ends of Justice": Provost Courts in South Carolina, 1866-1868" (2001)

Hahn, Steven Christopher, ""A Miniature Arms Race: The Role of the Flintlock in Initiating Indian Dependency in the Colonial Southeastern United States, 1655-1730" (1995)

Breen, Daniel Lewis, "The Supreme Court of Georgia and It's Interpretation of the Statutes of Fraud 1870-1899." (1994)


People by Name

All People

Faculty (alpha)

Faculty (field)

Grad Students (alpha)

Grad Students (field)


Professors Emeritus

People by Field


African American

Ancient & Medieval



Cultural & Intellectual

Early America

Environment & Agriculture

Europe-Early Modern


Film and History

Gender & Sexuality

Imperialism & Colonialism

Latin America & Caribbean

Middle East

Native American

Political & Legal



U.S. South

U.S. 19th & 20th Century

War and Diplomacy

Women's History






></tr><tr> </tr><tr>
<td colspan=
The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of History