History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Rosemarie Zagarri

Rosemarie Zagarri

Rosemarie Zagarri

University Professor

Early American history (colonial-1820s); Early American women; 18th-century transatlantic history and global history

Rosemarie Zagarri received her Ph.D. from Yale University and specializes in Early American history. She has published four books, the most recent of which is Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007; paperback, 2008). Her articles have appeared in scholarly journals such as the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, and William & Mary Quarterly, and in numerous edited collections.

Professor Zagarri has received research fellowships from organizations including the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-1998, 2011-2012), the American Antiquarian Society, and the American Philosophical Society. In 1992, she received the Outstanding Article Prize, awarded by the Southeastern Eighteenth-Century Studies Association, for “Morals, Manners, and the Republican Mother.” In Spring 1993, the Fulbright Commission appointed her to the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American Studies at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She has served on the editorial boards of American Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, William & Mary Quarterly, as well as the University of Virginia Press and was a member of the Council of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture from 2006-2009. In 2009, she was elected President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). In 2011, she received the Scholarship Award from Mason's College of Humanities and Social Sciences and was also appointed Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. In 2013, the GMU Board of Visitors named her a "University Professor," the highest faculty rank at the university. 

Current Research

Zagarri’s current book project is called, “The Empire Comes Home: Thomas Law and the Making of British India, and the Early American Republic.”

Selected Publications


Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007; paperback, 2008).

A Woman’s Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution (Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan-Davidson, Inc., 1995; 2nd. ed. Wiley, 2015).

David Humphreys’ ‘Life of General Washington’ with George Washington’s ‘Remarks’ (edited, with an introduction) (Athens, Ga.: The University of Georgia Press, 1991; paperback, 2006).

The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776 - 1850 (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1987; paperback, 2010).

Selected Articles:

"American Nabob: Thomas Law, Philosopher and Critic of Empire," in India in the American Imaginary: Indo-American Encounters, 1780s-1880s, ed. Rejoinder Kaur (forthcoming). 

“The Family Factor: Congressmen and the Burden of Public Service in the Early American Republic,” Journal of the Early Republic 33(Summer 2013), 283-316.

“Scholarship on the American Revolution since The Birth of the Republic,”in Edmund S. Morgan, The Birth of the Republic, 1763-1789, 4th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 193-209.

“The Significance of the ‘Global Turn’ for the Early American Republic: Globalization in the Age of Nation-Building,” Journal of the Early Republic 31(Spring 2011), 1-37.

“Mercy Otis Warren on Church and State,” in The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life, ed. Daniel Driesbach, Mark David Hall, and Jeffry Morrison (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), 278-303.

“Women and Party Conflict,” in Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic, ed. Jeffrey Pasley, Andrew Robertson, and David Waldstreicher (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 107-28.

“The Rights of Man and Woman in Post-Revolutionary America, William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd. ser., 60 (April 1998), 200-227.

“Morals, Manners, and the Republican Mother,” American Quarterly 44 (June 1992), 192-215.

Representation and the Removal of State Capitals, 1776 - 1812,” Journal of American History 74 (March 1988), 1239-1256.

Courses Taught


HONORS 130: Conceptions of Self

HONORS 240: Reading the Past (George Mason in History and Memory)

HIST 389: Founding Mothers and Fathers

HIST 403: Era of the American Revolution

HIST 499: Research Seminar on Revolutionary America


HIST 535/615/635: Eighteenth-Century Transatlantic Revolutions 

HIST 615: The Transatlantic Enlightenment in America

HIST 620: Development of the Early Republic

HIST 631: The American Revolution

HIST 711: Research Seminar on Early American History

HIST 811: Doctoral Research Seminar


In the Media

"Female Suffrage in Revolutionary New Jersey," "With Good Reason," WAMU Radio, Dec. 2, 2016. 

"Women and Early American Constitutionalism," James Madison Memorial Foundation video, May 2015. 

"Religious Identity in Early America," CSPAN lecture, March 25, 2013. 

“Women and the American Revolution,” CSPAN lecture, Feb. 27, 2012.

Interview on Politics of Size and Revolutionary Backlash on CSPAN BookTV, Oct. 16, 2011.

Review of Pauline Maier’s Ratification in Washington Post, Dec. 22, 2010.

Review of Woody Holton’s Abigail Adams in Washington Post, Feb. 14, 2010.

Review of Edith B. Gelles, Abigail & John in San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 2009.

On-camera historian, The Real Martha Washington (Fairfax Television Network), 2008.

On-camera historian, George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King (PBS), 1993.

Dissertations Supervised

Richard Harless, Learn Our Arts and Ways of Life: George Washington and the Civilization of Native Americans (2012)

Maureen Santelli, "The Greek Fire": The Greek War for Independence and the Emergence of American Reform Movements, 1780-1860 (2014)

George Oberle, Institutionalizing the Information Revolution: Debates over the National University in the Early American Republic (2016)

Jacqueline Beatty, In Dependence: Women’s Protection and Subordination as Power in Early America, 1750-1820 (2016)