Peter Charles Hoffer

Peter Charles Hoffer is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia, where he has taught since 1978. He teaches and writes on early American history, legal history, and historical methods. A graduate student of Bernard Bailyn while at Harvard University, Hoffer has also taught at Ohio State University, the University of Notre Dame, and Brooklyn College. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including: The Supreme Court Footnote: A Surprising History (2024), The Search for Justice: Lawyers in the Civil Rights Revolution, 1950–1975 (2019), A Nation of Laws: America’s Imperfect Pursuit of Justice (2010), Cry Liberty: The Great Stono River Slave Rebellion of 1739 (2011), For Ourselves and Our Posterity: The Preamble to the Constitution in American History (2012), Prelude to Revolution: The Salem Gunpowder Raid of 1775 (2013), Benjamin Franklin Explains the Stamp Act Protests to Parliament, 1766 (2015), Rutgers v. Waddington: Alexander Hamilton, the End of the War for Independence, and the Origins of Judicial Review (2016), John Quincy Adams and the Gag Rule, 1835-1850 (2017), and Uncivil Warriors: The Lawyers' Civil War (2018). Hoffer is also an avid coauthor, and his collaborators have included his wife N. E. H. Hull and his sons, Williamjames Hull Hoffer and Louis Hoffer. He is most recently a coauthor, with Hull and Williamjames Hull Hoffer, of The Federal Courts: An Essential History (2016) and, with Williamjames Hull Hoffer, of The Clamor of Lawyers: The Coming of the American Revolution and Crisis in the Legal Profession (2018).

NEW IN 2024: The Supreme Court Footnote: A Surprising History  (NYU Press)

NEW IN 2023: Third edition, The Brave New World: A History of Early America (Johns Hopkins University Press)

OAH Lectures by Peter Charles Hoffer

In this lecture, Hoffer tells the story of Supreme Court footnotes, from the first, in Chisholm v. Georgia, to the multitude of footnotes in Dobbs v. Jackson.

Declining numbers of majors and disappearing faith in the possibility of historical objectivity--reasons why, and what is to be done.

The roles that lawyers played in the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War

The witchcraft accusations, the trials, and their significance in early American history and today

An account of the most significant slave revolt in American colonial history

The events surrounding the indictment and trial in federal court of one of America's most controversial political figures

A survey of some of the most notorious breaches of professional ethics in historical scholarship.


More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources