Grant E. Stanton


Ph.D. Candidate

Colonial & Early America; Atlantic World; Intellectual History

Grant E. Stanton is a doctoral candidate whose research interests range widely across the landscape of early modern American (pre-1865) and Atlantic intellectual history. Before coming to Penn, Grant taught courses in American and World history at Bakersfield College, and received his M.A. and B.A. from the University of Chicago and the University of California - Santa Barbara, respectively.

Grant's dissertation studies the place of insults in structuring eighteenth-century Americans' moral world, as well as a deliciously irreverent lens for understanding the many crises brought to light in the American Revolution -- particularly those surrounding free speech, and the emergent notion that all human beings, qua human beings, have innate moral dignity.

Outside of his dissertation, Grant is also studying the crystallization of a unique philosophy of history in mid-nineteenth-century America; one which underscores an imaginative, and at times even playful, engagement with time by Americans across political, religious, and racial boundaries. Previous to these projects, Grant has also researched the role of the African American "freedom petitions" in the American Revolution. In that effort he argued that prior scholars have underappreciated how Massachusetts' black patriots were constitutive of -- rather than exterior to -- the revolutionary moment and its language of liberty. 

Much of his prior work may be found here:


Committee: Daniel K. Richter, Sophia Rosenfeld, Sarah L.H. Gronningsater, Kathleen M. Brown, Warren Breckman


M.A., Social Sciences, University of Chicago, 2017
B.A., History and Political Science, University of California - Santa Barbara, 2016

Research Interests

American History to 1865: American Enlightenment; American Revolution; American Renaissance; Civil War and Reconstruction

Atlantic World: Enlightenment and Revolution; Moral Philosophy; Political Discourse, Culture

Intellectual History: Metaphysical and Moral; Legal and Political; Racial and Sexual

Mythical and Metaphorical Thinking; Philosophy of History; Philosophical Anthropology