Charlotte Hull is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford Department of History
where she researches the intersection of space, politics, and power in nineteenth-century North America. She earned her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, double majoring in English and history where she studied poetry, the Atlantic world, and colonial America. As a Haas Scholar at Berkeley, Charlotte examined the first generations of English settlement on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, exploring how islanders––both English and Wampanoag––created new autonomous systems outside of regional and imperial power structures during the mid-seventeenth century. Her thesis received the Highest Honors in History, and her research led her to pursue a graduate degree as a Beinecke Scholar.
At Stanford, Charlotte has investigated connections between the Atlantic and Pacific worlds as well as the creation of social and political institutions in California and the Hawaiian Islands. Her current research investigates how and why California became part of the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. This project tracks how the idea of California’s promise changed in the minds of U.S. statesmen over the course of multiple administrations. Her work demonstrates how mapping expeditions and attempts at diplomacy ultimately led to military campaigns for U.S. sovereignty over Alta California. Between 1783 and 1848 U.S. statesmen imagined multiple futures for California and the North American West. As they amassed cartographic knowledge during the first decades of the nineteenth century, they also increased international commercial networks and expanded the armed forces to protect new state interests. In reaching for California, these U.S. statesmen aimed to secure a new, more powerful position on the world stage.