Matthew Karp is a historian of the Civil War era United States. His broader scholarly interests include the history of slavery, the American South, global imperialism, and war, politics, and diplomacy across the long nineteenth century. He received his B.A. from Amherst College in 2003 and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2013.
Karp’s current research explores the relationship between American slavery and U.S. foreign policy across the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Why did American slaveholders, traditionally suspicious of a strong central government, so eagerly embrace the vigorous use of federal power in international affairs? Karp’s book manuscript, The Foreign Policy of Slavery, 1833-1865 (under contract with Harvard University Press), considers how the link between American slavery and American power can illuminate questions about the course of U.S. foreign relations, the origins of the Civil War, and the place of slavery in the formation of the modern world.
“Arsenal of Empire: Southern Slaveholders and the U.S. Military in the 1850s,” Common-place: The Interactive Journal of Early American Life, vol. 12, no. 4 (July 2012)
“Slavery and American Sea Power: The Navalist Impulse in the Antebellum South,” Journal of Southern History, vol. 77, no. 2 (May 2011), 283-324.