The British Shaping of America’s First Fossil Fuel Transition


Through the transfer of people, ideas, and written texts from Britain, Americans were well aware of the potentially revolutionary role of coal for the young nation’s political economy. American knowledge of British coal practices had at least two crucial implications for the timing and shape of the nation’s first fossil fuel energy transition. This story suggests that attention to transnational contexts can help us better understand how, when, and why energy transitions occur.