Photo of Andrew HeathDr Andrew Heath

Ph.D. (Pennsylvania)

Lecturer in American History

19th century US history; urban history

+44 (0)114 22 22575 | Jessop West room 2.08

Semester Two 2018/19 Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:00-13:00 and Thursdays 13:00-14:00 



Andrew Heath joined the History Department in 2008. After growing up on the outskirts of Bristol, he read History from 1997 to 2001 at University College London, before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Bristol University.

Andrew's research interests lie primarily in the political, urban, and social history of the Nineteenth-Century United States. His thesis, which won the 2008 Urban History Association Prize for the best dissertation in Urban History, explores how imperial expansion, national consolidation, and economic development shaped the reconstruction of Philadelphia in the decades either side of the Civil War as citizens vied to make their city the main node between Europe and Asia: the London and Paris of America. An expanded and rewritten version of the project, In Union There Is Strength: Philadelphia in an Age of Urban Consolidation, will appear in January 2019 with University of Pennsylvania Press. He has also written on transatlantic working-class radicalism and authoritarian ideas in the Reconstruction-era U.S.

Andrew won the Student Union Academic Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2011-12 and 2012-13, and a Senate Award for Early Career teaching in 2013. He has been longlisted for the Student Union awards in teaching and personal tutoring several times. Alongside running modules on nineteenth-century U.S. history, he lectures on Paths from Antiquity to Modernity and Cities.

Professional Roles

American Historical Association - Member

British American Nineteenth-Century Historians (BrANCH) - Treasurer

Transatlantic Studies Association - Member

Urban History Association - Member



My work lies primarily in the political, social, and spatial history of nineteenth-century North America, though I also have comparative interests in late twentieth-century urban industrial society. With Dan Scroop (Glasgow), I have edited a volume on transatlantic history, and much of my research now seeks to situate the United States in a wider world.

My first book, In Union There Is Strength: Philadelphia in Age of Urban Consolidation, will appear with University of Pennsylvania Press at the start of 2019. Beginning amid social and sectional crisis in the 1840s, and ending in the strikes and economic stagnation of the 1870s, the volume explores how a generation of Americans navigated years of civil wars, which extended from northern fields to southern streets. Intoxicated by the growth of their city and nation, but terrified by the prospect of each falling apart, they searched for methods to bind unstable societies together. 'In Union There Is Strength' became a rallying cry not just for patriots concerned about the dissolution of the United States, but also urban residents who came to see their city as a miniature of the nation at large. Moving from the streets of Philadelphia to Parisian boulevards, European socialist experiments, and attempts to democratize American capitalism, the book shows how the path to modernizing the second biggest metropolis in the mid-nineteenth-century United States included some surprising waystations.

My next project, Let the Empire Come: Monarchy, Modernity, and Conspiracy in Reconstruction Era America builds outwards from a short-lived but wildly-popular newspaper from post-Civil War New York that proposed replacing the republic with a polity somewhere between the constitutional monarchy of Victorian Britain and the highly-centralised state of Bonapartist France. I am using this weekly journal as a lens onto debates about the relationship of democracy, authoritarianism, and modernity in an age in which 'modern kingship', as one writer put it, seemed to offer a firmer foundation for national consolidation than popular sovereignty. My research here considers the dissenting Americans who wondered whether a crowned head – and not the republic – lay at the 'end of history'. The first article from this research will appear in Civil War History in June 2014, and I am currently turning the research into a book that explores monarchy as one of the less likely 'Atlantic Crossings' in an era of liberal reform.

I am interested in digital history initiatives and helped to set up the American History Research Wiki to collect links to and critical appraisals of the hundreds of free online digital archive collections exploring aspects of the American past.

Research Supervision

I am happy to supervise students working on urban history or the political and social history of the nineteenth-century United States. I am also interested in supervising projects with a transnational or comparative dimension.. I also teach and supervise on our MA in American History.

Current students:

  • Sylvia Broeckx - Sexual Violence and Rape during the Civil War.
  • Hilary Hall - In Full Color or Black and White? White Ethnicity and American Citizenship in the Newspaper Comic Strip, 1900-1932.
  • Joseph Nowland - A Lawless Land?: Crime, Violence and the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance, 1845 - 1865.
  • Christopher Olewicz - History, Radicalism, and the New Left: Studies on the Left, 1959 - 1967.

All current students by supervisor

Completed students:

  • Charles Thompson - Diffusion against Centralization': Centralization and its Discontents in America, 1848-1860.
  • Annabelle Grenville-Mathers - Executive Power and Republicanism: The Battle to Define Ulysses S Grant's Presidency 1868-1880.

PhD study in History



In Union There Is Strength: Philadelphia in an Age of Urban Consolidation (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming January 2019).

With Daniel Scroop (eds.), Transatlantic Social Politics, 1800-Present (London: Palgrave, 2014).


'"Let the Empire Come": Imperialism and Its Critics in the Reconstruction South', Civil War History 60 (June 2014), 152-89.

'"Every Man His Own Landlord": Working-class Suburban Speculation and the Antebellum Republican City', Journal of Urban History 38 (November 2012), 1003-20.

'"The Producers on the One Side, and the Capitalists on the Other": Labor Reform, Slavery, and the Career of a Transatlantic Radical, 1838-1873', American Nineteenth-Century History 13 (Summer 2012), 1-29.

'The Public Interest of the Private City: The Pennsylvania Railroad, Urban Space, and Philadelphia's Economic Elite, 1846-1877', Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 79 (Spring 2012), 177-208.

Book Chapters

'Small Men, Best Men, and the Big City: Reconstructing Political Culture in Antebellum Philadelphia', in Adam I. P. Smith and Daniel Peart (eds.), Practicing Democracy: Popular Politics in the United States from The Constitution to the Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015).

'Introduction' (with Daniel Scroop) and 'Chapter 2: Paris, Philadelphia, and the Question of the Nineteenth-Century City', in Daniel Scroop and Andrew Heath (eds.), Transatlantic Social Politics: 1800-Present (London: Palgrave, 2014), 1-17 and 43-73.

'"In Union There is Strength": City-Building and Nation-Building in Civil War-Era Philadelphia, 1844-1865', in Iwan Morgan (ed.), Reconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013), 101-24.

Other Publications

'Consolidation Act of 1854', 'The Mayoralty', 'Philadelphia County', and 'Street Numbering', in Howard Gillette, Charlene Mires, Randall Miller, and Gary Nash (eds.), Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia (Online 2013-2018; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming).

'Philadelphia 1828-1854, 1854-1876, and 1876-1896', in Richard Dilworth (ed.), Cities in American Political History (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2011), 163-9, 222-7, and 298-304.

'Labor and Unions', in Christopher Bates (ed.), The Early Republic and Antebellum America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History, Volume 1 (New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2010).

'Virtual Roundtable on an Absence of Empire: American Urban History and the Incorporation of Imperialism', NeoAmericanist (2010)

Book reviews for American Nineteenth-Century History, Gender and History, Journal of American Studies, Law and Policy Review, Urban History.

Liner notes for The Payroll Union album 'The Mule and the Elephant'.


Module Leader

HST2513: Trumpism: An American Biography (not running 2018-19)

Trumpism: An American Biography, HST2513 (not running 2018-19)

HST3180/3181: Half Slave and Half Free: The Origins of the U.S. Civil War

Half Slave and Half Free: The Origins of the U.S. Civil War, HST3180/3181

Between 1861 and 1865, around a million Americans died in a conflict that concluded with the defeat of the breakaway southern Confederacy and the emancipation of the South’s enslaved people. Why that war happened is one of the central problems of U.S. history. To some, the struggle signifies an ‘irrepressible conflict’ between two rival civilizations, but for others, blundering politicians and a dysfunctional democracy brought on an avoidable crisis. Through looking at men and women, blacks and whites, slaves and citizens, and politicians and voters, we will try to understand why – as Abraham Lincoln put it – ‘the war came.’

The module will combine social, cultural, and political history, tying changes in everyday life to the affairs of state, and linking the actions of people sometimes seen as outside the realm of political history – slaves, free blacks, female reformers – to debates over the terms of American nationhood. Over the course of two semesters we will explore:

  1. The making of the slave South and free North.
  2. The politics and culture of pre-Civil War ‘Jacksonian democracy’.
  3. The ‘fruits of manifest destiny’ as northerners and southerners fought over the West.
  4. The defence of slavery as a ‘positive good’.
  5. The assault on slavery by abolitionists, antislavery politicians, and fugitive slaves.
  6. The political dynamics of sectional conflict, compromise, and secession.

While we will study broad processes, we will also focus in on key individuals, including the first Republican president Abraham Lincoln, the African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the proslavery author George Fitzhugh, and the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Among a treasure trove of primary sources, we will be able to explore material that ranges from congressional debates to interviews with former slaves. You will be able to draw on such rich resources in dissertation work if you wish.
HST6077: The U.S. Civil War in Global Context

The U.S. Civil War in Global Context, HST6077

The U.S. Civil War of 1861-65, which culminated in the victory of the ‘free labor’ and the emancipation of four million slaves, has often been read as a purely American story. Yet as historians have shown, the effects of the conflict reverberated around the world, silencing the Manchester mills that ran on the fruits of slave’s toil, remaking the rural economies of countries as far flung as Japan and Egypt, and inspiring European nationalists, liberals, socialists in their own revolutionary struggles for unification and liberty.

Abraham Lincoln understood as much at the time. His Gettysburg Address moved gracefully between the particular circumstances of the United States and the universal propositions that the Civil War had put to the test. At the outset of the conflict he had offered Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of the struggle to make an Italian nation state, a command in the Union army. Pro-slavery Confederates too sought Old World allies: rumours even abounded after 1861 that they were ready to replace their president with a Habsburg prince. Probing such connections between developments in the U.S., Europe, and beyond, we will explore where the Civil War sits alongside contemporary struggles for national unification, how it reshaped a global economy that rested heavily on the production of slave-grown cotton, and whether its revolutionary outcome – the annihilation of slavery and extension of voting rights to black men – imprinted society and politics beyond the Union’s borders.

The module will introduce you to two methods – one transnational, the other comparative – for studying global history.


HST112: Paths from Antiquity to Modernity

Paths from Antiquity to Modernity, HST112

Taking you from the height of the Roman Empire to the Fall of the Berlin Wall, this module is an introduction to the dominant narrative of History, from a European perspective (though the module ventures widely beyond Europe when appropriate). Each lecture looks at a particular historical ‘turning point’, while the weekly seminar takes a more thematic approach, tackling historical notions such as revolutions, progress, globalisation and renaissance. By the end of the module, you’ll have a sense of the broad sweep of History, fascinating in itself but particularly useful for single and dual honours students as preparation for more detailed study at Levels II and III. You will also have an appreciation of the importance of periodisation (how historians divide up time), and the problematic concept of modernity. This module is explicitly intended to aid with the transition to the study of History at University.

HST3301: Cities

Cities, HST3301

The Thematic Option (formerly Comparative Option) is a type of 20-credit, one semester module at level 3. Thematic Options take major historical themes and explore these across a broad time-frame and in a variety of different cultural and geographic settings. Each Thematic Option is taught by a team of lecturers whose own research relates to aspects of the topic under discussion, and they are designed to involve students and the teaching staff in a dialogue about how we approach key questions in the study of past societies. The topics selected for the modules all represent areas of lively, current historiographical debate and offer opportunities to respond to interpretations and theories emerging in other disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, geography and political science. For this reason they will appeal especially to students with an interest in thinking across disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, including those studying for dual degrees. All of the Thematic Options raise issues with strong resonances in our contemporary culture.

Thematic Options have been created to complement the more specialised work at Level Three, looking beyond the detailed focus on one specific place and time to ask more conceptual questions and allow for the space to engage with significant themes that run across many of the periods that we tend to study in isolation. How can we compare historical experiences separated in time and space? Can we gain insights into understanding one period by knowing how similar challenges were met in a very different historical context? Do we learn more from what periods have in common, or from the differences that emerge?

The modules are taught through a series of lectures and ninety-minute seminars, placing an emphasis on collaborative learning and the encouragement of active student participation in researching and presenting material in class. The assessment is a mixture of coursework and marks for oral performance in the seminars.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

Andrew supervises a student-led oral history project, Witness, which explores life in Sheffield. This is part of the wider History in the City project. Interested students are encouraged to contact him.

In The Media

Andrew is a regular contributor to the department's History Matters blog. His work on Philadelphia was used in the production of the PBS/ABC documentary series, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, on which he also appeared.

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Admissions tutor.