Tyson Reeder

Assistant Professor (Research)/Assistant Editor
Papers of James Madison

Field & Specialties

Early American international/transnational relations
Atlantic history
Race and revolution
Iberian empires
Scholarly editing


Ph.D., University of California, Davis (2016)
M.A., George Mason University (2010)
B.A., Utah State University (2008)


A historian of early America and the Atlantic world, Tyson Reeder researches transimperial commercial networks, race and revolution in the Atlantic, and early U.S. state building. He is an editor with the Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State series. He has taught courses on U.S. history, the history of inter-American relations, and Latin American colonial history. Before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia, he taught history at Brigham Young University and UC Davis. Composed of archival research in four languages and on three continents, his first book, Smugglers, Pirates, and Patriots: Free Trade in the Age of Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), reveals that  divergent imperial trajectories generated turbulent transnational enterprises as many U.S. traders tried to aid Brazil’s abortive republican revolutions by smuggling, plundering, and trading in South America. Going beyond traditional comparative approaches, the book examines the exchange (legal and otherwise) of ideas and commodities in the Americas. By analyzing conflicting ideologies in the early U.S. republic and Brazil, it unveils the United States at a crossroads between a commitment to republican solidarity in the western hemisphere and a desire for respect from European nations.


Smugglers, Pirates, and Patriots: Free Trade in the Age of Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

"U.S.-Caribbean Relations," Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.

“‘Unwept, Unhonored, Unsung’: The Historical Memory of Henry O. Flipper, West Point’s First Black Graduate,” Georgia Historical Quarterly (Summer 2018), 117–145.

“‘Liberty with the Sword’: Jamaican Maroons, Haitian Revolutionaries, and American Liberty,” Journal of the Early Republic (Spring 2017): 81–115. (SHEAR Ralph D. Gray Prize)

“‘Sovereign Lords’ and ‘Dependent Administrators’: Artigan Privateers, Atlantic Borderwaters, and State Building in the Early Nineteenth Century,” Journal of American History (September 2016): 323–346 (lead article)  (Emile G. Scholz Award)

The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State vol. 13 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, forthcoming).

The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents vol. 11, with Spencer McBride, Jeffrey Mahas, and Brett Dowdle (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press, forthcoming).

Current Research

Foreign meddling in early American politics

During the early Republic, Americans hoped that the Constitution had enabled the nation to withstand foreign powers on its borders, but it seemed unclear if it could impede foreign governments from infiltrating citizens with suspected foreign sympathies and sowing internal division that would cripple the Union.

Refugees and the Making of Race in Early America

The Age of Revolution was an age of refugee crises, and this research will articulate the impact of those crises on North Americans’ racialized dialogue about Atlantic revolutions.