Dr. Ron Johnson specializes in early US history, with particular interest in diplomacy, religion, and cross-cultural relations. His first book, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance examines how white Americans and people of color of revolutionary Saint-Domingue pioneered cross-cultural diplomatic relations in the late 18th century. This alliance helped to secure Louisiana for the United States and to establish the independent nation of Haiti.
Dr. Johnson’s research and teaching reflect his interest in diplomacy and religion. He served as a Foreign Service Officer of the U.S. Department of State in Luxembourg and Gabon and as an analyst within the U.S. intelligence community. He teaches and advises undergraduate and graduate students across the College of Liberal Arts. His instruction has received the Foundations of Excellence Award from the Student Foundation and the International Studies Professor of the Year Award from the Center for International Studies. He is a member of the International Studies Board of Advisors and an alumnus of the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. His wife and he sponsor the Ronald and Colette Johnson Foreign Affairs Scholarship to encourage students to seek careers in international relations.
Dr. Johnson’s present research examines Haitian emigration across the Atlantic world during the early nineteenth century. In the monograph-length study, American port cities, such as Savannah, Charleston, Philadelphia, and New York, serve as a lens into the roles of African and white American churches in the assimilation by Haitian immigrants into American society.
The first book on the Adams-Louverture alliance.
From 1798 to 1801, during the Haitian Revolution, President John Adams and Toussaint Louverture forged diplomatic relations between white Americans and people of color in Saint-Domingue. The United States supported the Dominguan revolutionaries with economic assistance and arms; the conflict was also the U.S. Navy’s first military action on behalf of a foreign ally. This cross-cultural cooperation was of immense and strategic importance as it helped to bring forth a new nation: Haiti.
At a secret dinner in eighteenth-century Philadelphia, Secretary of State Timothy Pickering forged an alliance with Saint-Domingue, the United States' first diplomatic relationship with a black-led government. At the cessation of Dominguan-American relations, following Adams's electoral defeat, the revolutionary colony stood on the threshold of nationhood. For its part, the United States moved a step closer toward its aspirations to reshape the Atlantic world.
The article discusses the relations and business ventures between Particular Baptist pastor and merchant William Kiffin and King Charles II during the Restoration period in England in the 17th-century. It explains the reasons why the pastor earned the king's favor and the friendship of his royal councilors during a time when there was persecution against Baptists. Challenging previous historical literature, Johnson argues that the religious tolerance of Kiffin—and not his commercial career—was the primary factor for his peculiar ventures with the king.
History 1310: History of the United States to 1877
A general survey of the history of the United States from its settlement to the end of Reconstruction.
History 3368: U.S. Foreign Relations, From Revolution to Reconstruction
This course in diplomatic history explores the philosophical, social, and legal aspects of the diplomatic relations of the United States, and development of the leading principles of foreign policy in the early American republic. These studies are then set within the context of analysis via several geo-political models.
History 3368W: Religion in America
This course explores the social, political, and theological evolution of the leading trends in religious beliefs and practices in the United States from pre-European encounters to the present.
International Studies 4380: Senior Seminar
This course is required for students seeking teacher certification in History. This course is an introductory methods course designed to familiarize students with general historical practice and its application in secondary teaching. Prerequisite: Departmental approval required. Students should seek this approval well in advance of registration.
History 4388: Modern U.S. Foreign Policy
The course employs a multinational perspective to survey themes and ideals of U.S. foreign relations across the 20th century to present.
History 5346: African-American History
This course is an intensive readings and research seminar in African American History. Through the uses of lectures, biographies, institutional histories and community studies, students will be introduced to the different interpretive themes and methodologies that have created the myriad of historical interpretations and reinterpretations of African American History.
History 5390: Religion in the United States, 1620-1745
This course engages the existing historical literature regarding religion the United States to develop student awareness that religious beliefs and structures were a most basic organizing principal in colonial American society and examines the ways in which religious faith and dogma were constructed, with an emphasis on how religious polity defined spiritual and social standards, and shaped political and economic opportunities.
History 5390: Religion and the U.S. Revolution, 1763-1843
This course engages the existing historical literature regarding the Revolutionary Era of the United States to examine the influence of religious beliefs regarding the conception and fighting of the American Revolution.
History 5390: History of the Atlantic World, 1620-1830
This course engages the existing historical literature regarding history of the Atlantic world to develop student awareness that the Atlantic world is a interpretative construction that allows historians and other scholars to discuss and explore history of the interactions among the peoples and empires bordering the Atlantic Ocean rim from roughly the 1450s to the early 19th century.
History 5395G: Early American Diplomacy, 1765-1865
This course explores the philosophical, social historical, and legal aspects of the diplomatic relations of the United States, and the development of the leading principles of foreign policy in the early American republic within a comparative, Atlantic world framework.