‘To Gain the Hearts and Subdue the Minds of America’: Sir Henry Clinton and British Conduct of the Revolutionary War

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire at the time of the Revolutionary War. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, the Saunders director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and a history professor at the University of Virginia, will refute this claim at a lecture at Goucher College on Thursday, October 31, at 4:30 p.m. in the Batza Room of the Athenaeum.

The presentation, titled “‘To Gain the Hearts and Subdue the Minds of America’: Sir Henry Clinton and British Conduct of the Revolutionary War” is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Matthew Hale, associate professor of history, at mhale@goucher.edu or 410-337-6217.

O’Shaughnessy contends that contrary to popular thinking, the British leadership, including General and Commander-in-Chief Henry Clinton, did not lose the Revolutionary War due to incompetence, but rather from a combination of an ardent Continental Army and political issues in Britain.

O’Shaughnessy is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (2000) and The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (2013).

He has lectured widely to both scholarly and general audiences. He is an editor of the Jeffersonian American Series of the University of Virginia Press, a member of the advisory board of the Founding Fathers’ Libraries Project, a member of the advisory board of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

This event is sponsored by Goucher College’s Laura Graham Cooper Lectureship Fund and Department of History.

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