Christine Mertens is a PhD candidate in American History / American Studies at the RIAS and Leiden University on the larger research project “Racial Democracy: Challenges to Civic Democratic Ideals in American History,” sponsored by the Stichting Praesidium Libertatis at Leiden University.
Christine Mertens (1994) explores petitions on abolition and manumission legislation in the aftermath of the American Revolution. Specifically, she investigates the impact of political and legal efforts in the Upper South to contain and abolish slavery or deal with the status of free blacks in society. By focusing on petitions, she hopes to provide a new perspective to existing scholarship that includes the political voices of ordinary people, and more importantly, free blacks and slaves.
Originally from the Netherlands, Christine received her BA History with a specialization in American History in 2016 and her MA North American Studies in 2019, both from Leiden University. Christine’s research interests include slavery and politics in the early American Republic and US constitutional history.