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Jay Sexton

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Jay Sexton is the inaugural Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy and Professor of History at the University of Missouri. A native of Salina, Kansas and graduate of KU, he returned to the Midwest to the University of Missouri in 2016 after spending the better part of two decades at Oxford University in England. Sexton started in Oxford as a grad student Marshall Scholar and worked his way up to being Director of the Rothermere American Institute and, upon his departure, being elected to the honorary title of Distinguished Fellow.

Sexton specializes in the political and economic history of the nineteenth century. His research situates the United States in its international context, particularly as it related to the dominant global structure of the era, the British Empire. He is the author of Debtor Diplomacy: Finance and American Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era, 1837-1873 (Oxford, 2005; 2nd ed. 2014) and The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America (Hill and Wang, 2011). He also has published two major collaborative projects: The Global Lincoln (co-edited with Richard Carwardine, Oxford, 2011) and Empire’s Twin: U.S. Anti-Imperialism from the Founding to the Age of Terrorism (co-edited with Ian Tyrrell, Cornell, 2015).

Currently, Sexton is at work on a book that explores how steam infrastructure conditioned the connections and relations between the United States and the wider world in the second half of the nineteenth century. He also is working with Kristin Hoganson on a collaborative project on “transimperialism” – the crossings and intersections between empires in the nineteenth century.

Sexton enjoys working with enterprising students, undergrad or grad, who set their own intellectual agenda. When he is not reading or talking history, he is cheering for KC sports teams and following British politics.

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