Francis Russo

Francis Russo

Ph.D. Candidate

Francis Russo is a doctoral candidate who studies early and nineteenth century North America. Before entering the doctoral program at Penn, Francis graduated from the dual M.A./M.Sc. program in International and World History at Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and received a B.A. in History and Music from Trinity College, where he was a Presidential Fellow. He is currently a Hamer Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. 

Francis' research has been supported by the John Carter Brown Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, University of Michigan Library, Economic History Association, History of Economics Society, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, among others.

At Penn, Francis has co-organized multiple workshops, lectures and reading groups. From 2018-19 he served as the Clio co-president, the department's graduate student organization. In 2021-22 he was co-coordinator of the Brown Bag works-in-progress series at the MCEAS.

Advisors: Daniel Richter (primary), Sophia Rosenfeld, Sarah Gronningsater, David Waldstreicher (CUNY)


M.Sc., International and World History (with distinction), London School of Economics, 2015
M.A., International and World History (with distinction), Columbia University, 2015
B.A., History and Music (with honors), Trinity College, 2013

Research Interests

Early North America and nineteenth-century U.S.; intellectual, social, and political history; capitalism and political economy; slavery and antislavery; antebellum reform movements; history of democracy and democratic theory; utopian reform movements in North America; American Pragmatism; philosophy of history; history of sound.

Courses Taught

HIST 108: American Origins
HIST 168: History of American Law
HIST 109: Hamilton's America
HIST 011: Deciphering America 
HIST 133: The History of Free Speech and Censorship

2019 Teaching Assistant of the Year Award

Selected Publications
  • "The New Old-School American Revolution," (long-form review essay) Reviews in American History 50:3 (September 2023): 264—275. Review of Woody Holton, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution.