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 is an expert in early U.S. foreign relations, transimperial exchanges, 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. He has published in the Washington Post and major historical journals including the Journal of American History, Journal of the Early Republic, Oxford Research Encyclopedia, and other venues. He won the 2017 Ralph D. Gray prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic for his article “Liberty with the Sword.”


Routledge History of U.S. Foreign Relations, ed. (Routledge, forthcoming).

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

"Lines of Separation: James Madison on Religious Liberty and National Security," Journal of the Early Republic (forthcoming).

"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 Intrigues: James Madison, Party Politics, and Foreign Meddling in Early America

Based on research in six countries and five languages, Foreign Intrigues examines foreign meddling in U.S. politics between the 1780s and the War of 1812. It focuses on how foreign governments fostered and exploited U.S. political divisions for their benefit. As they meddled in U.S. politics, foreign powers exposed unresolved tensions about where sovereignty resided in the United States, and they blurred the line between dissent and disloyalty in the republic. As a leading delegate at the Constitutional Convention, party opposition leader, secretary of state, and president, James Madison grappled with the implications of foreign influence in U.S. politics. At each stage of his career, he revealed an intense and complicated interest in the question of foreign meddling, making him a useful lens to understand how Americans reacted to it.