Tom Finger

Tom is a PhD candidate in the Corcoran Department of History. Soon after enrolling at UVa, he developed a plan for his dissertation that looked at the ways in which technologies, ecosystems, and human social groups interact over large scale economic systems. As a case study of these relationships, his dissertation highlights the growth of the North Atlantic grain trade between the United States and Great Britain during the nineteenth century. He has found that energy flows regulated by technologies – in his case the grain trade – can go a long way towards explaining how social groups and political movements are formed. To this end, he explores the relationship between classical liberal economic theory, the growth of railroads, and widespread agrarian unrest in the Midwestern United States following the Civil War.