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Quartering Troops in Early America with John McCurdy

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson criticized George III for "Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us" in the years before the American Revolution. To hear Jefferson tell it, quartered troops had long been a problem in early America. In this episode, Dr. John McCurdy of Eastern Michigan University reveals how the history of accommodating troops in North America is more complicated than you might think. Far from being an objectionable practice that motivated Americans to revolt against the British, colonists accepted that quartering soldiers was a necessary and even welcome event under certain conditions. McCurdy, who is the author of the new book, Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution, will reshape what you know about the relationship between soldiers, civilians, and space in the era of the American Revolution. 

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About our Guest:

John McCurdy, Ph.D. specializes in colonial and Revolutionary America, gender and LGBTQ history, and the Atlantic world. His research examines the connections between social and political history in eighteenth-century North America. He is the author of Citizen Bachelors: Manhood and the Creation of the United States, which examines how ideas about marital status in the colonial era gave rise to American citizenship. His most recent book, Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution, explores how debates over military power shaped notions of place in Revolutionary America.

About our Host:

Jim Ambuske leads the Center for Digital History at the Washington Library. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a focus on Scotland and America in an Age of War and Revolution. He is a former Farmer Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Virginia Law Library. At UVA, Ambuske co-directed the 1828 Catalogue Project and the Scottish Court of Session Project.  Ambuske is currently at work on a book entitled Emigration and Empire: America and Scotland in the Revolutionary Era, as well as a chapter on Scottish loyalism during the American Revolution for a volume to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press.