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History Department

John Fea

Associate Professor and Chair


Early America; history pedagogy


Office: 260 Boyer Hall

Phone: 717-766-2511 x 2253








John Fea

Educational Background


  • Ph.D., American History, Stony Brook University, 1999
  • M.A., Church History, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1992
  • M.Div., Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1992





John is Associate Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah.

He is the author or editor of three books and his essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular venues.  He blogs daily at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  

John lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife Joy, daughters Allyson and Caroline, and dog Jersey.




Courses Taught


  • United States History to 1865
  • Colonial America
  • Revolutionary America
  • Immigrant America
  • Civil War America
  • Teaching History and Social Studies



SELECTED Publications


  • Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction (Westminster/ John Knox Press, 2011)
  • Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation, co-edited with Jay Green and Eric Miller (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010)
  • The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008; paperback edition, 2009)
  • “The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian’s Rural Enlightenment,” The Journal of American History (September 2003, 462-490).



SELECTED Presentations


  • Papers and Lectures presented at the Organization of American Historians, Omohundro Institute Annual Conference, Lilly Fellows Program in Arts and Humanities, Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution, Conference on Faith and History, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, New Jersey Forum, Pennsylvania Historical Association Annual Meeting, Meeting of the American Society of Church History, Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of the Early American Republic, Annual Conference of the Society for the History of Reading, Authorship, and Publication.



Current Activities


John is working on a book about history and memory in the New Jersey town of Greenwick tentatively titled "The Greenwich Tea Burning: History and Memory in an American Town."  He is also working ona a long-term projected titled "A Presbyterian Rebellion: The American Revolution in the Mid-Atlantic."