Historian & Writer

Books

Founders as Fathers

Founders as Fathers

The Private Lives and Politics of the American Revolutionaries (Yale University Press, 2014)

Summary:

Surprisingly, no previous book has explored how family life shaped the political careers of America’s great Founding Fathers—men like George Mason, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. In this original and intimate portrait, historian Lorri Glover brings to life the vexing, joyful, arduous, and sometimes tragic experiences of the architects of the American Republic who, while building a nation, were also raising families.

The cost and consequence for the families of these Virginia leaders were great, Glover discovers: the Revolution remade family life no less than it reinvented political institutions. She describes the colonial households that nurtured future revolutionaries, follows the development of political and family values during the revolutionary years, and shines new light on the radically transformed world that was inherited by nineteenth-century descendants. Beautifully written and replete with fascinating detail, this groundbreaking book is the first to introduce us to the founders as fathers.

​Reviews:

“Elegantly written and sparkling with keen insights, Lorri Glover's splendid book recasts our understanding of the American Revolution by revealing the surprising world in which the sons of liberty were fathers before they were founders—repeatedly forced to balance their deeply held responsibilities as parents with calls to lean in for independence and a new republic.”—Jon Kukla, author of Mr. Jefferson’s Women and A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America

“With an inventive twist on the ‘founding fathers’ moniker historian Glover probes the link between family and politics. . . . A sophisticated history peppered with tidbits from the private sphere.” Publishers Weekly

​“A lively, highly readable account of the competing loyalties of Virginia’s founding fathers. George Mason, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison come alive as fathers of families and stewards of estates, struggling to balance their domestic responsibilities with the political demands of war, revolution, and national formation.”—Kathleen M. Brown, University of Pennsylvania

“By exploring how the political careers and patriarchal roles of Virginia’s Revolutionary leaders were inextricably linked, Lorri Glover tells a profoundly human story about the nation’s beginnings.”—Virginia DeJohn Anderson, author of Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

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The Fate of the Revolution

Virginians Debate the Constitution
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016)

Summary:

In May 1788, the roads into Richmond overflowed with horses and stagecoaches. From every Virginia county, specially elected representatives made their way to the capital city for the state’s Ratification Convention. Together, these delegates―zealous advocates selected by Virginia’s deadlocked citizens―would decide to accept or reject the highly controversial United States Constitution and determine the fate of the American Republic. The rest of the country kept an anxious vigil, keenly aware that without the endorsement of Virginia―its largest and most populous state―the Constitution was doomed.

The Fate of the Revolution explains why Virginian’s wrangling over ratification led to such heated political debate. Beginning in 1787, when they first learned about the radical new government design, Virginians had argued about the proposed Constitution’s meaning and merits. The convention delegates, who numbered among the most respected and experienced patriots in Revolutionary America, were roughly split in their opinions. Patrick Henry, the greatest orator of the age, opposed James Madison, the intellectual force behind the Constitution. The two sides were so evenly matched that in the last days of the convention even the savviest political observers still could not confidently predict the outcome.

As they scrutinized the Constitution, Virginians created a wealth of sources unparalleled in the revolutionary age: personal letters, newspaper articles, and a full transcription of their convention debates. The Fate of the Revolution mines those remarkable records to bring to life the provocative, momentous constitutional questions that consumed Virginians, echoed across American history, and resonate still today.

Reviews:

“The best account of Virginia’s ratification now available. Glover succeeds in giving readers a tightly focused and comprehensive narrative of Virginia’s ratification that centers on key personalities. An astute introduction to the history of the American founding.”
Peter S. Onuf, University of Virginia, author of Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood


“This well-written and thoroughly researched account of the Virginia ratifying convention not only tells a great story filled with key individuals and their debates over fundamental issues, it also explains why ratification in Virginia worked the way it did and why it mattered so much to the new nation.”
Todd Estes, Oakland University, author of The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture

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Death and the American South

Edited with Craig Thompson Friend (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Summary:

This rich collection of original essays illuminates the causes and consequences of the South’s defining experiences with death. Taking a wide range of perspectives while concentrating on discrete episodes in the region’s past, the essayists in Death and the American South explore topics running from the seventeenth century to the present, from the deathtraps that emerged during colonization through the bloody backlash against emancipation and Civil Rights to recent canny efforts to commemorate—and capitalize on—the region’s deadly past. Some authors capture their subjects in the most intimate of moments: killing and dying, grief and remembrance, faith and despair. Others uncover the intentional efforts of southerners to publicly commemorate their losses through death rituals and memorialization campaigns. Together, these poignantly told southern stories reveal profound truths about the past of a region marked by death and unable, perhaps unwilling to escape the ghosts of its history.

Reviews:

“The eleven chapters that comprise Death and the American South are replete with intellectually stimulating and thorough research about everything from the specific ways by which colonists killed each other and displayed bodies in the early South to the conflicting strategies that the tourist trade has adopted to exploit the deaths of Native Americans. There are no weak links.” Ted Ownby, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi


“This is another five-star collection from the team of Friend and Glover.” Stephen Berry, Gregory Chair in the Civil War Era, University of Georgia


“Death and the American South is a tenacious study—comprehensive, intuitive, and most importantly, provocative. Tightly argued chapters cover a wide array of phenomena, from experiences of collective sorrow and racial violence to issues of psychological control. . . . This is a highly absorbing book.” Andrew Burstein, Charles P. Manship Professor of History, Louisiana State University


“Scholars have long awaited a volume like Death and the American South. While remaining attentive to the universal aspects of deathways, this impressive collection makes a strong case that the South had—and has—a distinctive culture of death. The result is a powerful, coherent collection of original essays.” Erik R. Seeman, State University of New York, Buffalo

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Summary:

The English were latecomers to America, and their initial attempts to establish an overseas empire met with dismal failure. In 1609, another disaster set the final course of this dramatic history, when the Sea Venture, the ship dispatched by London investors to rescue the starving settlers at Jamestown, collided with a ferocious hurricane and was shipwrecked off the coast of Bermuda. This riveting historical narrative describes how the 150 castaways were seduced by the island’s unexpected pleasures for almost a year and were later riven by mutinies when ordered to continue on to Virginia. Ultimately they built boats with their own hands and arrived safely in Jamestown to face the daunting task of rebuilding America’s first permanent colony.

Reviews:

"Combining rare narrative skills and historical detail, historians Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith have written a fascinating book about a subject of crucial importance for understanding early America.” - The Providence Journal


"Glover and Smith use this tale of shipwreck and survival to convey the larger spirit of the age, a brew of enterprise, greed, godliness, hucksterism, and self-advancement. A thrilling adventure story gracefully told.” - Kirkus Reviews


In this gripping account of shipwreck, mutiny, perseverance, and deliverance, the epic story of the wreck of the Sea Venture and its consequences for the survival of Jamestown, England's first successful colony in the New World, is told for the first time. Glover and Smith persuasively make the case that in saving themselves, the 150 castaways stranded for nearly a year on the remote island of Bermuda ultimately saved English America.”—James Horn, author of A Land As God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America


“An important story, told with verve and skill.” - Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Summary:

Between the generations of Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson Davis, the culture of white Southerners experienced significant changes, including the establishment of a normative male identity that exuded confidence, independence, and power. Southern Sons, the first work in masculinity studies to concentrate on the early South, explores how young men of the southern gentry came of age between the 1790s and the 1820s. Lorri Glover examines how standards for manhood came about, how young men experienced them in the early South, and how those values transformed many American sons into southern nationalists who ultimately would conspire to tear apart the republic they had been raised to lead.This was the first generation of boys raised to conceive of themselves as Americans, as well as the first cohort of self-defined southern men. They grew up believing that the fate of the American experiment in self-government depended on their ability to put away personal predispositions and perform prescribed roles. Because men faced demanding gender norms, boys had to pass exacting tests of manhood—in education, refinement, courting, careers, and slave mastery. Only then could they join the ranks of the elite and claim power in society.

​Revealing the complex interplay of nationalism and regionalism in the lives of southern men, Glover brings new insight to the question of what led the South toward sectionalism and civil war.

Reviews:

Southern Sons adds immeasurably to our understanding of gender relations in the antebellum South. Compellingly argued, lucidly written, and thoroughly researched, this work is a model of sensitive historical analysis. Especially valuable is her demonstration of the complexities in social relations between parents and sons, peers and kin, college authorities and their often immature students. She pursues the lives of these favored young slaveholders through their courtships, marriages, and arrival on the threshold of responsible adulthood. Throughout their development, Glover persuasively asserts, they sought to become 'men of honor' and refinement in the classic terms of their time and culture. This study will be highly acclaimed by ordinary readers well as scholars of American history. ​- (Bertram Wyatt-Brown, author of Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South and The Shaping of Southern Culture: Honor, Grace, and War)


"Southern Sons is an impressive work, certain to influence—and perhaps even reshape—Southern social and cultural history for years to come, as well as the history of American masculinities." - The Historian


"We read about young men who exhibited a lifelong negotiation with authority, with society's expectations, with one another, and eventually with the North... Well written, meticulously researched."- Journal of the Early Republic


An important book for anyone interested in gender, family history, or education in antebellum America. It is also a refreshing way to frame the origins of the American Civil War. - (Michael DeGruccio H-CivilWar)

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(Georgia, 2004), edited with Craig Thompson Friend​

Summary:

Spanning the era from the American Revolution to the Civil War, these nine pathbreaking original essays explore the unexpected, competing, or contradictory ways in which southerners made sense of manhood. Employing a rich variety of methodologies, the contributors look at southern masculinity within African American, white, and Native American communities; on the frontier and in towns; and across boundaries of class and age.Until now, the emerging subdiscipline of southern masculinity studies has been informed mainly by conclusions drawn from research on how the planter class engaged issues of honor, mastery, and patriarchy. But what about men who didn’t own slaves or were themselves enslaved? These essays illuminate the mechanisms through which such men negotiated with overarching conceptions of masculine power. Here the reader encounters Choctaw elites struggling to maintain manly status in the market economy, black and white artisans forging rival communities and competing against the gentry for social recognition, slave men on the southern frontier balancing community expectations against owner domination, and men in a variety of military settings acting out community expectations to secure manly status.

​As Southern Manhood brings definition to an emerging subdiscipline of southern history, it also pushes the broader field in new directions. All of the essayists take up large themes in antebellum history, including southern womanhood, the advent of consumer culture and market relations, and the emergence of sectional conflict.

Reviews:

"An important and timely contribution to the burgeoning field of gender history. This rich and compelling collection will take its place on the bookshelves of every serious scholar of gender in the American experience." - Anya Jabour, author of Marriage in the Early Republic: Elizabeth and William Wirt and the Companionate Ideal


"A fine collection of essays that apply the new methods and approaches of masculine studies to the study of the Old South. . . . Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South is a pioneering effort opening new ground in both the study of masculine history and the history of the American South." - North Carolina Historical Review

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Written with William Bruce Wheeler (Cengage, 2017, 8th edition)

Summary:

Discovering the American Past is a hybrid textbook/primary source reader that immerses students in the historian’s craft. Interrogating discrete episodes and controversies in American history, from the mystery surrounding the failed colony of Roanoke in the late sixteenth century to the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the early twenty-first century, Discovering guides students through the process of historical inquiry and analysis. The two- volume textbook/reader is widely used in university classrooms and advanced placement courses across the country.

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Summary:

All Our Relations moves beyond the patriarchal household to investigate the complex, meaningful connections among siblings and kin in early America. Taking South Carolina as a case study, Lorri Glover challenges deeply held assumptions about family, gender, and cultural values in the eighteenth century. In the course of charting the emotional and practical dimensions of these sibling bonds, Glover provides new insights into the creation of class, the power of patriarchy, the subordination of women, and the pervasiveness of deference in early America. All Our Relations challenges the historical understanding of what family meant and what families did in the past. The families Glover uncovers, often fragmented but fiercely loyal, seem at once starkly different from and surprisingly similar to our own.