Within the Founding Generation lurked many unscrupulous figures—men who violated the era’s expectation of public virtue and advanced their own interests at the expense of others.
They were turncoats and traitors, opportunists and con artists, spies, and foreign intriguers. Some of their names are well known: Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr. Others are less notorious now but were no less threatening. There was Charles Lee, the Continental Army general who offered to tell the British how to defeat the Americans, and James Wilkinson, who served fifteen years as a commanding general in the US Army, despite rumors that he spied for Spain and conspired with traitors.
The early years of the republic were full of self-interested individuals, sometimes succeeding in their plots, sometimes failing, but always shaping the young nation. A Republic of Scoundrels seeks to re-examine the Founding Generation and replace the hagiography of the Founding Fathers with something more realistic: a picture that embraces the many facets of our nation’s origins
A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution
In the war’s waning days, the American Revolution neared collapsed when Washington’s senior officers were rumored to be on the edge of mutiny.
After the British surrender at Yorktown, the American Revolution blazed on—and as peace was negotiated in Europe, grave problems surfaced at home. The government was broke and paid its debts with loans from France. Political rivalry among the states paralyzed Congress. The army’s officers, encamped near Newburgh, New York, and restless without an enemy to fight, brooded over a civilian population indifferent to their sacrifices.
The result was the so-called Newburgh Conspiracy, a mysterious event in which Continental Army officers, disgruntled by a lack of pay and pensions, may have collaborated with nationalist-minded politicians such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Robert Morris to pressure Congress and the states to approve new taxes and strengthen the central government.
A Crisis of Peace tells the story of a pivotal episode of George Washington's leadership and reveals how the American Revolution really ended: with fiscal turmoil, out-of-control conspiracy thinking, and suspicions between soldiers and civilians so strong that peace almost failed to bring true independence.
Finalist, 2020 George Washington Book Prize
Honorable Mention, Journal of the American Revolution 2020 Best Book Award
Honorable Mention, American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia, 2020 Book of the Year
Honorable Mention, American Revolution Round Table of Richmond, 2020 Harry M. Ward Book Prize
Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic.
The true story of the American seafarers who crossed borders to fight for the independence of Spanish America. In the early nineteenth century, Americans secured commissions from Spanish American nations, attacked Spanish vessels, and returned to sell their captured cargoes (which sometimes included slaves) from bases in Baltimore, New Orleans, and Galveston and on Amelia Island. Along the way, they angered foreign diplomats, worried American officials, and muddied U.S. foreign relations.
Winner of the 2016 John Gardner Award presented by the Fellows of the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport Museum for making a significant contribution to maritime research.
The Golden Age of Piracy: The Rise, Fall, and Enduring Popularity of Pirates
Shrouded by myth and hidden by Hollywood, the real pirates of the Caribbean come to life in this collection of essays edited by David Head. Twelve scholars of piracy show why pirates thrived in the New World seas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empires, how pirates operated their plundering ventures, how governments battled piracy, and when and why piracy declined. The essays presented take the study of piracy, which can easily lapse into rousing, romanticized stories, to new heights of rigor and insight.
Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400-1900: Europe, Africa, and the Americas in an Age of Exploration, Trade, and Empires.
Encyclopedia of the Atlantic World, 1400–1900 synthesizes a generation of historical scholarship on the events on four continents, providing readers an invaluable introduction to the major people, places, events, movements, objects, concepts, and commodities of the Atlantic world as it developed during a key period in history when the world first started to shrink. The entries discuss specific topics with an eye toward showing how individual items, people, and events were connected to the larger Atlantic world. This accessibly written reference book brings together topics usually treated separately and discretely, alleviating the need for extra legwork when researching, and it draws from the latest research to make a vast body of scholarship about seemingly far-flung places available to readers new to the field.