Rosemarie Zagarri

Rosemarie Zagarri

Rosemarie Zagarri

Distinguished University Professor

U.S. History: 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 leading 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.Her latest book project is called, "Liberty and Oppression: Thomas Law and the Problem of Empire in Colonial British India and the Early American Republic."

Professor Zagarri has received numerous nationally competitive research fellowships from scholarly organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-1998, 2011-2012), the American Antiquarian Society, the American Philosophical Society, and George Washington's Mount Vernon. Her article, “Morals, Manners, and the Republican Mother,” published in American Quarterly, received the Outstanding Article Prize from the Southeastern Eighteenth-Century Studies Association. The Wall Street Journal named her book, A Woman's Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution, one of the "Five Best Book on Revolutionary Women." She was the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American Studies at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has served on the editorial boards of American Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, William & Mary Quarterly, and the University of Virginia Press.  In 2010, she was elected President of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). In 2023, she was elected as a Fellow of the Society of American Historians. A past recipient of the Scholarship Award given by Mason's College of Humanities and Social Sciences, in 2013 the GMU Board of Visitors named her a Distinguished University Professor, the highest faculty rank at the university.

Current Research

Book project: “Liberty or Oppression: Thomas Law and the Problem of Empire in Colonial British India and the Early American Republic”

Lead Historian: MAPPING EARLY AMERICAN ELECTIONS, NEH Preservation Grant ($200,000) (with Lincoln Mullen, Sheila Brennan, and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media) at 

Consultant and featured presenter in online exhibit: When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807, Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia at


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:

"The Historian's Case Against the Independent State Legislature Theory," Boston College Law Review 64:3 (March 2023 ), 638-662. 

"Situating the United States in Vast Early America" (co-authored with Eliga Gould), William & Mary Quarterly, 3rd. ser., 78:2 (April 2021), 189-200.

"Liberty and Power: The Classical Republicanism of George Washington and Mercy Otis Warren," in Political Thought and the Origins of the American Presidency, ed. Benjamin Lowe (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2021).

"The Empire Comes Home: Thomas Law's Mixed-Race Family in the Early American Republic,"  in India in the American Imaginary: Indo-American Encounters, 1780s to 1880s, ed. Anupuma Arora and Rajender Kaur (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

“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.

Grants and Fellowships

See attached CV.

Courses Taught


HONORS 240: Reading the Past (Pandemics in American History; 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: Oceans and Empires: America and the Early Modern World

HIST 615/635: Age of Atlantic Revolutions

HIST 620: Development of the Early Republic

HIST 631: The American Revolution

HIST 797: Research Seminar on the Age of Revolutions

HIST 811: Doctoral Research Seminar


Recent Presentations

See attached CV.

In the Media

Selected public media: 

“Sojourner of Empires: Thomas Law in British India and the Early American Republic,” Podcast: 2 Complicated 4    History (April 4, 2023)

"The Revolutionary Life of Mercy Otis Warren," We the People Podcast, National Constitution Center, Aug. 19, 2021

"American Revolution360: When Women Lost the Vote," Museum of the American Revolution, Video:, August 26, 2020 

"Women and the Founding," CSPAN lecture, June 27, 2018 

Podcast on Mercy Otis Warren, Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast of Early American History, Episode # 145 (2017), at

"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

John Rand, George Mason, Luther Martin, and the Anti-Federalist Origins of State Power in American Constitutionalism (2024)

Greta Swain, Potomac Networks: Waterways, Commerce, and Enslavement in the George Mason Family, 1700–1828 (2023)

Anthony Guidone, The Empire's City: A Global History of Salem, Massachusetts, 1783-1820. (2023)

Lynn Price, "To Enjoy the Blessings of Freedom": Slavery, Manumission, and Colonization in the District of Columbia (1790-1862) (2018)

Lisa A. Carmichael, Markets and Masculinity: Pursuing Wealth, Power, and America "Manliness" in the China Trade, 1820-1842 (2018)

Royce Gildersleeve, Toward the Racial Binary: Race, Property and the Dispossession of Indians in Early Virginia (2018)

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

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

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

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

Stephanie Hurter, Pressing their Voices: The People, the Press, and the Growth of Participatory Politics in the State Ratifying Conventions for the U.S. Constitution, 1787-1788 (2010)

Roger Mellen, A Culture of Dissidence: The Emergence of Liberty of the Press in Pre-Revolutionary Virginia (2007)

Patricia Leigh Riley Dunlap, Constructing the Republican Woman: American Periodical Response to the Women of the French Revolution, 1789-1844 (1999)