Thomas H. Cox, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Certificate in Chinese, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 2016

Ph.D., History, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2004

M.A., History, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1998

B.A., History, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham Alabama, 1994

B.S., Political Science-Sociology, Birmingham-Southern College, Birmingham Alabama, 1994


Dr. Cox’s historical interests include American constitutional and legal history, early U.S.-Sino relations, and nineteenth century history.

His first book, Gibbons v. Ogden, Law, and Society in the Early Republic examines a landmark decision in American jurisprudence, the first Supreme Court case to deal with the thorny legal issue of interstate commerce. Decided in 1824, Gibbons v. Ogden arose out of litigation between owners of rival steamboat lines over passenger and freight routes between the neighboring states of New York and New Jersey. In later decades the case became a legal and cultural precedent for the later regulation not merely of goods and services but individuals and morals from the early years of the young republic through the late twentieth century. 

In the past seven years Professor Cox has served as a visiting professor at Renmin University in Beijing, China and Northeast Normal University in Changchun. China. He has recently completed a Certificate in Chinese Language at the University of Hawaii.

He is currently working on a second book on Warren Delano’s experiences as an American merchant in China in the early 1800s. Today Delano is known primarily as the maternal grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Yet he was also one of the most successful American traders with China in the early 1800s. His career provides a window into the complicated relations between early American and Chinese merchants, relationships which would over time form much of the basis for future U.S. foreign policy towards Asia.

Dr. Cox currently teaches undergraduate courses on American colonial, revolutionary, early republic, and the history of early U.S.-Sino relations. He also serves on examination and thesis committees for students working in these areas.



HIST 1301 U.S. History to 1876

HIST 3376 America to 1783

HIST 3377 America at Mid-Passage, 1787-1877


HIST 5371 Revolutionary America

HIST 5372 Early National America

Selected Publications

Gibbons v. Ogden, Law, and Society in the Early Republic (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009).

“`Money, Credit and Strong Friends’: Warren Delano II and the Importance of Social Networking in the Old China Trade,” in Private Merchants of the China Trade, 1700-1842 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2014), ed. Paul Van Dyke, forthcoming.

“Encountering the Founders: Changing Historiographical Views of the Creation of the U.S.

Constitution,” in Journal of Nanjing University 48 (July 2011): 32-42.

“Contesting Commerce: Gibbons v. Ogden, Steam Power, and Social Change,” in Journal of

Supreme Court History 34 (March 2009), 55-73.

“Frontier Framers: Constitution Making in Nineteenth Century Nebraska,” in The History of

Nebraska Law (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008), ed. Alan Gless, 11-27.

“From Centerpiece to Center Stage: Kelly Ingram Park, Segregation, and Civil Rights in Birmingham, Alabama” in the Southern Historian 18 (Spring 1997): 5-28.

Gibbons v. Ogden, Law, and Society in the Early Republic - Thomas H. Cox - Google Books