Peter Thompson has published on the social and cultural history of Britain's colonies in North America and the Caribbean, 1607-1800. His current research interest lies in seventeenth-century America.
- Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth Century Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 1999).
- Cassell’s Dictionary of American History (London: Cassell, 2002). [updated and revised edition, sole author]
- 'Judicious Neology: The imperative of paternalism in Thomas Jefferson's Linguistic Studies', Early American Studies. An Interdisciplinary Journal, 1 (2003), 187-224.
- 'William Bullock's "Strange Adventure": A Plan to Transform Seventeenth-Century Virginia', William and Mary Quarterly, LXI (2004), 107-128.
- 'The Thief, the Householder, and the Commons: Languages of Class in Seventeenth-Century Virginia', William and Mary Quarterly LXIII (2006), 253-80.
- 'Inventive Localism in the Seventeenth Century', William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., LXIV (2007), 525-48.
- 'Henry Drax's Instructions on the Management of a Seventeenth-Century Barbadian Sugar Plantation', William and Mary Quarterly LXVI (2009), 565-604.
- "I have Known": Thomas Jefferson, Experience and Notes on the State of Virginia', in A Companion to Thomas Jefferson, ed. Frank Cogliano (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 60-75.
- State and Citizen: British America and the Early United States, co-edited with Peter Onuf (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013).