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Seeing the British Side of the American Revolution with Andrew O'Shaughnessy

What does the American Revolution look like from a British vantage point? How does that change the way we think about the origins of the United States, and major figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or George III? And in the new republic, how did Jefferson try to keep the revolution alive through his ideas on education.

On today’s episode, Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy helps us explore these questions.

O’Shaughnessy is a historian of the American Revolution. He is also the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The ICJS is one of the premier institutes for the study of the American Revolution and the early Republic.

In 2014, O’Shaughnessy was awarded the George Washington Book Prize for his book, The Men who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of Empire.

He is currently at work on a book about Thomas Jefferson and his vision for education in the early United States.

We recorded our conversation at ICJS, just down the mountain from Monticello, and as you’ll hear, O’Shaughnessy oversees a major educational enterprise.

About Our Guest:

Andrew O’Shaughnessy is Vice President of Monticello, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).  His most recent book The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013) received eight national awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Society of Military History Book Prize.  

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.  He is the co-author with Randall Flaherty of "Reading Law in the Early Republic: Legal Education in the Age of Jefferson," in The Founding of Thomas Jefferson's University ed. by John A. Rogasta, Peter S. Onuf, and Andrew O'Shaughnessy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019). 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.