Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age (2018)
Editor with Kate Fullagar

Facing Empire reimagines the Age of Revolution from the perspective of indigenous peoples. Rather than treating indigenous peoples as distant and passive players in the political struggles of the time, this book argues that they helped create and exploit the volatility that marked an era while playing a central role in the profound acceleration in encounters and contacts between peoples around the world.


Rethinking the Age of Revolution (2017)

In the last twenty years, scholars have rushed to re-examine revolutionary experiences across the Atlantic, through the Americas, and, more recently, in imperial and global contexts. While Revolution has been a perennial favourite topic of national historians, a new generation of historians has begun to eschew traditional foundation narratives and embrace the insights of Atlantic and transnational history to re-examine what is increasingly called ‘the Age of Revolution’. This volume raises important questions about this new turn, and contributors pay particular attention to the hidden peoples and forces at work in this Revolutionary world.


Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America (2015)

In Masters of Empire, the historian Michael A. McDonnell reveals the vital role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. Masters of Empire charts the story of one group, the Odawa, who settled at the straits between those two lakes, a hub for trade and diplomacy throughout the vast country west of Montreal known as the pays d’en haut.


Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making in the US from Independence to the Civil War (2013)
Editor with W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Frances Clarke, and Clare Corbould

In this lively collection of essays, historians and literary scholars consider how the first three generations of American citizens interpreted their nation’s origins. The volume introduces readers to a host of individuals and groups both well known and obscure, from Molly Pitcher and “forgotten father” John Dickinson to African American Baptists in Georgia and antebellum pacifists. They show how the memory of the Revolution became politicized early in the nation’s history, as different interests sought to harness its meaning for their own ends. No single faction succeeded, and at the outbreak of the Civil War the American people remained divided over how to remember the Revolution.


The Politics of War: Race, Class, and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia (2007)

War often unites a society behind a common cause, but the notion of diverse populations all rallying together to fight on the same side disguises the complex social forces that come into play in the midst of perceived unity. Michael A. McDonnell uses the Revolution in Virginia to examine the political and social struggles of a revolutionary society at war with itself as much as with Great Britain.

McDonnell documents the numerous contests within Virginia over mobilizing for war--struggles between ordinary Virginians and patriot leaders, between the lower and middle classes, and between blacks and whites. From these conflicts emerged a republican polity rife with racial and class tensions.


Journal Articles, Essays, and Book Chapters



“Revolution in the Quarterly? An Historiographical Analysis,” with David Waldstreicher, William and Mary Quarterly 74(4), 633-666


"Rethinking the Age of Revolution,” Atlantic Studies 13(3), pp. 301-314. (Introduction and Guest edited a special edition on the Age of Revolution.)

“War Stories: Remembering and Forgetting the American Revolution,” in Patrick Spero and Michael Zuckerman, eds., The American Revolution Reborn (Phialdelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), 9-28.


“An Interview with Donna Merwick,” with David Goodman, Australasian Journal of American Studies 34, no. 1 (2015), 60-83.

“Maintaining a Balance of Power: Michilimackinac, the Anishinaabe Odawa, and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763,” Early American Studies 13, no. 1, (Winter 2015), 38-79.


“Rethinking the Middle Ground: French Colonialism and Indigenous Identities in the Pays d’en Haut,” in Gregory D. Smithers and Brooke N. Newman, eds., Native Diasporas: Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in North America (University of Nebraska Press, 2014), 79-108.

“Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences of European Empire in Comparative Perspective, 1760-1820” with Kate Fullagar in Robert Aldrich and Kirsten McKenzie, eds., The Routledge History of Western Empires (London: Routledge, 2014), 59-71.


“The Struggle Within: Colonial Politics on the Eve of Independence,” in Edward Gray and Jane Kamensky, eds., Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 103-120.

"War and Nationhood: Founding Myths and Historical Realities, in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Frances Clarke, Clare Corbould, and Michael A. McDonnell, eds., Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making in the US from Independence to the Civil War (Amherst, Ma.: University of Massachusetts Press for their Public History in the Historical Perspective series, 2013), 19-40. 


“History, Myth, and the Making of America,” Reviews in American History 40, no. 2 (June 2012), 215-221.

"Facing Empire: Indigenous Histories in Comparative Perspective" in Kate Fullagar, ed., The Atlantic World in the Antipodes: Effects and Transformations since the Eighteenth-Century (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), 220-236.

The American Revolution,” in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, vol. 21, Social Class, eds. Larry Griffin and Peggy C. Hargis (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 61-65.


“Men out of Time: Confronting History and Myth,” Comment on Staughton Lyndand David Waldstreicher, “Free Trade, Sovereignty, and Slavery: Toward an Economic Interpretation of American Independence,” William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser. 68, no. 4 (Oct. 2011), 644-648.

“Jefferson’s Virginia,” in Francis D. Cogliano, ed., A Companion to Thomas Jefferson (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 16-31.


"Dancing With Shadows: Biography and the Making and Remaking of the Atlantic World,” in Desley Deacon, Penny Russell, and Angela Woollacott, eds., Transnational Lives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 54-66.


“’The Spirit of Levelling’: James Cleveland, Edward Wright, and the Struggle for Equality in Revolutionary Virginia,” in Alfred Young, Gary B. Nash, and Ray Raphael, eds., Revolutionary Founders (New York: Alfred A. Knopf and Vintage Anchor Publishing, division of Random House, Inc., 2009), 135-154.


"'Il a Epousé une Sauvagesse': Indian and Métis Persistence Across Imperial and National Borders," in Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton, Moving Subjects: Gender, Mobility, and Intimacy in an Age of Global Empire (University of Illinois Press, 2008), 149-171.


“Class War?: Class Struggles During the American Revolution in Virginia,” William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 2 (April 2006), 305-344.

“Fit for Common Service?: Class, Race, and Recruitment in Revolutionary Virginia” in John Resch and Walter Sargent, eds., War and Society in the American Revolution: Mobilization and Home Fronts (Dekalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006), 103-131.


“Raphael Lemkin as Historian of Genocide in the Americas,” with A. Dirk Moses, Journal of Genocide Research 7, no. 4 (Dec. 2005), 501-529.

“The King is Dead! Long Live the King?,” Australasian Journal of American Studies 24, no. 1 (July 2005), 59-82. 

“Paths Not Yet Taken, Voices Not Yet Heard: Rethinking Atlantic History,” in Anne Curthoys and Marilyn Lake, eds., Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2005), 46-62.


“A World Turned ‘Topsy Turvy’: Robert Munford, The Patriots, and the Crisis of the Revolution in Virginia,” in William and Mary Quarterly  3rd ser. LXI, no. 2(April 2004), 235-270.


“National Identity and the American War for Independence: A Reappraisal,” Australasian Journal of American Studies 20, no. 1 (July 2001), 3-17.

“Charles-Michel Mouet de Langlade: Warrior, Soldier and Intercultural ‘Window’ on the Sixty Years’ War for the Great Lakes” in David C. Skaggs and Larry Nelson, eds., The Sixty Years’ War for the Great Lakes, 1754-1816 (Michigan State University Press, 2001), 79-104.


“Patriot vs Patriot: Social Conflict in Virginia and the Origins of the American Revolution,” with Woody Holton, Journal of American Studies 34, no. 2 (August 2000), 231-256.

“Resistance to the Revolution,” in Jack P. Greene and J.R. Pole, eds., Companion to the American Revolution (London and New York: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 2000), 342-351.