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The author evaluates the role of British leadership in the outcome of the Revolutionary War. It was a war that Britain seemingly should have won as a major military power. It is therefore commonly assumed that failure must have been due to the incompetence of the commanders and the politicians who are ridiculed in fiction and in movies. Although less crudely presented, such caricatures even permeate scholarly literature. The talk will challenge the stereotypes and offer a very different explanation of why Britain lost the American War of Independence.
Andrew O’Shaughnessy is the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello 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) and The Men Who Lost America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013). He is a co-editor of Old World, New World. America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010) and a co-editor of the Jeffersonian America series published by the University of Virginia Press.