John Beeler in front of a sign advertising Country Bumpkins parking for JB's Bar B-Q.

John F. Beeler



  • PhD, Illinois, 1991

Research Areas

  • Military and Naval History
  • European History


Research Interests

  • The Social and Cultural History of Victorian Britain
  • Public Opinion and Defense Policy
  • Imperial Defense Administration
  • Libertarian Fallacies

Current Projects

  • Alexander, Effie, and their Worlds: Life, Love, and Work in a Victorian Scots Gentry Family
    • A social and cultural history of the Victorian Scots gentry as viewed through the lens of Alexander and Euphemia (“Effie”) Milne, with especial emphasis on family life, the demands of professionalization, and the place of the Scots gentry within the larger “British world.”
  • The Milne Papers, Volume 4: 1865-1896, for the Navy Records Society/Ashgate Press.
    • Covers Alexander Milne’s service and activities as First Naval Lord of the Admiralty (1866-68, 1872-76), Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Squadron (1869-70), a member of the Admiralty’s “Alabama Claims” Committee (1870-71), Chair of the Colonial Office’s Colonial Defence Committee (1878-79), and as a member of the Carnarvon Commission on Imperial Defence (1879-82)
  • British Naval Policy in the Gladstone-Salisbury Era, 1880-1902
    • This project investigates the transformation of British naval policy during the crucial period 1880-1900, focusing in particular on the intersection between public perceptions and defense policy. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the forces that impelled policy shifts and to illuminate the response of statesmen and administrators to mounting domestic pressure. This study will shed light on the extent to which national security policy is driven by domestic factors—most notably public opinion, pressure from the press, and partisan politics—in a modern, mass electorate, constitutional state.

Courses Taught

  • Western Civilization since 1648 (HY 102)
  • The British Empire and Commonwealth (HY 393)
  • England/Britain in the “Long Eighteenth Century,” 1688-1832  (HY 493/593)
  • Britain 1815-1914 (HY 494/594)
  • Britain 1890-Present (HY 400/500)
  • British Popular Culture and Music, 1950-2000 (HY 300)
  • Britain and the World Wars (HY 400)
  • History of the U.S. Navy (HY 295)
  • Naval History Proseminar (Graduate Colloquium) (HY 639)

Awards and Honors

  • Chosen by students to deliver The University of Alabama Graduate School’s “Last Lecture” (2015)
  • Selected as one of the top 300 professors in the United States by the Princeton Review, as detailed in The Best 300 Professors (New York: Random House/Princeton Review) (2012)
  • Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society (2009)
  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2005)
  • The University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow (2001-2)
  • The University of Alabama Alumni Association’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award (1999)
  • Winner of the American Historical Association’s 1998 Paul W. Birdsall Prize for best work on European strategic and military history for British Naval Policy in the Gladstone-Disraeli Era, 1866-1880 (1998)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University (1991-92)
  • MacArthur Scholar (1988-89)

Selected Publications