The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire

Time Period
1764 to 1824
Media Type
Audio
Topics
Military History
Politics & Government
Soundcloud
Presenter
Andrew O’Shaughnessy

On May 22, Andrew O’Shaughnessy delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire.”

The loss of America was an unexpected defeat for the British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders must have been to blame. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O’Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. British victories were frequent throughout the war. Yet roiling political complexities at home, combined with the fervency of the fighting Americans, proved fatal to the British war effort.

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, who has served as the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and professor of history at the University of Virginia, is the author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire, winner of the 2014 George Washington Book Prize.