The Other Border: Canada’s Place in U.S. History, from the Revolution to Reconstruction

Endorsed by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society (IEHS) and the Wilson Institute for Canadian Studies at McMaster University

Thursday, April 2, 2020, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Borderlands; Nationalism and Transnationalism; Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples


This roundtable brings together an array of U.S. and Canadian historians whose current scholarship focuses on the intersections of the two countries between 1776 and 1877. They will discuss Canada’s vital role in the development of U.S. history during the early republic and the Civil War eras, as well as the United States’ crucial role in Canadian history. The panelists will probe questions surrounding Indigenous peoples, migration and expatriation, race relations, political ideology, and rebellion and civil war, and will address the continued neglect of Canada in much of the scholarship on the early United States.

Session Participants

Chair: Maxime Dagenais, Wilson Institute for Canadian History
Maxime Dagenais is an adjunct assistant professor at McMaster University and the coordinator of the Wilson Institute for Canadian History. He holds a PhD from the University of Ottawa and postdoctoral fellowships from the Wilson Institute and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. He is the author of The Land in Between: The Upper Saint John Valley: Prehistory to World War One and numerous academic articles, including in Quebec Studies, Bulletin d’histoire politique, Canadian Military History, andAmerican Review of Canadian Studies.

Panelist: Jeffers Lennox, Wesleyan University
Jeffers Lennox is an historian of early North America at Wesleyan University, with a specific focus on the history of interactions between British, French, and Indigenous peoples. His first book, Homelands & Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763 (University of Toronto Press, 2017) explores how the Wabanaki peoples, French settlers, and British colonists used borders, land use, and the language of geography to control territory in what is now Nova Scotia / New Brunswick / Northern Maine. His current book project, North of America: The Revolution, British Provinces, and Creating the United States, 1774-1815 (under contract, Yale University Press) investigates the ways in which Canada shaped the American Revolution and the formation of the Early Republic.

Panelist: Karen L. Marrero, Wayne State University
Karen Marrero holds a PhD from Yale University and is Assistant Professor of early North American
history at Wayne State University. She is a comparative and transnational historian of the United States
and Canada, with research interests covering interactions between seventeenth, eighteenth, and early
nineteenth-century Indigenous peoples and Euro- Americans in the Great Lakes. Among other articles
and chapters, she has published " 'Borders Thick and Foggy': Mobility, Community, and Nation in a
Northern Indigenous Region" in Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812, eds. Nicole
Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017). Her book Detroit’s
Hidden Channels: The Power of French-Indigenous Families in the 18th Century will be published in 2020.
She has delivered papers at conferences of the American Historical Association, Canadian Historical
Association, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, French Colonial Historical Society, Native
American and Indigenous Studies Association, American Society for Ethnohistory, and Organization of
American Historians, among other venues.

Panelist: Julien Mauduit, McMaster University
Julien Mauduit holds his PhD from UQAM (2016) and is the Lynton R. Wilson Assistant
Professor at McMaster University from 2017 to 2019. He received his undergrad and post-graduate
education in France, in history and political science, at Sorbonne University, Nanterre University
and the EHESS (Paris). He received the Quebec National Assembly’s 2017 Prix de la Fondation
Jean-Charles-Bonenfant for his PhD dissertation, as the best research in Quebec political history,
as well as the Canadian Historical Association’s 2018 Jean-Marie Fecteau Prize for the best peer-
reviewed article written by a student, for an article that analyzes the Canadian patriots’ political
economy and was published in the Bulletin d’histoire politique in 2017. Julien Mauduit is the co-
editor of Revolutions across Borders. Jacksonian America and the Canadian Rebellion (McGill-
Queen’s University Press, 2019). He has also published works on the French public opinion across
North America during the Canadian Rebellion (Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, 2019),
on the history of science (Paris, CNRS, 2014) and on the question of Canadian annexation and
Canadian republicanism (Early American Studies, forthcoming). Before teaching at McMaster
University, he was a lecturer at UQAM and McGill University. Mauduit is currently co-editing a
book on the history of Canadian democracy that will be published by McGill-Queen’s University
Press, and a special issue for the William and Mary Quarterly on the British Empire in the post-
1783 North America. He is interested in history of democracy and the transition to capitalism in
North America, and he is currently working on the political meanings of monetary theories.

Panelist: Alexandra L. Montgomery, University of Pennsylvania
Alexandra L. Montgomery is a PhD Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation, "Projecting Power in the Dawnland: Weaponizing Settlement in the Far Northeast, 1710-1800” explores efforts to transform the region that is now northern New England and the Canadian Maritime Provinces from an Indigenous and French space into a loyal British colony through the targeted settlement of Protestant families drawn from the fringes of the empire and central Europe. Her work has been supported by institutions such as the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the New-York Public Library, and the American Philosophical Society.

Panelist: Thomas Richards Jr., Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Dr. Thomas Richards, Jr., is a historian of the U.S. early republic and the American West who focuses on issues of sovereignty, identity, and migration in the American borderlands during the Jacksonian era. He received his Ph.D. from Temple University in 2014. His article, " 'Farewell to America': The Expatriation Politics of Overland Migration, 1841-1846," which appeared in the Pacific Historical Review in 2017, recently won the Western History Association's Michael P. Malone Award for best article on state or territorial history. His book project, Breakaway Americas: Sovereignty and Destiny in the Jacksonian Era, is currently under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press. He is also publishing essays in three edited volumes, on the Canadian Rebellions, the Mormons, and cultural explorations of Manifest Destiny, respectively. For his research, Dr. Richards and has been awarded fellowships from the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Huntington Library, the Bancroft Library, and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. Currently he is a high school teacher at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.

Panelist: Eric Raymond Schlereth, University of Texas at Dallas
Eric R. Schlereth is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Dallas. His area
of expertise is early America and the United States from the revolutionary era through the Civil
War. The trajectory of Schlereth’s scholarship thus far has moved from the lives of individuals
who doubted Christianity to the lives of those who doubted the nation.

An Age of Infidels: The Politics of Religious Controversy in the Early United States (2013),
explores how individuals with profound religious differences—specifically professed Christians
and vocal deists—contested each other's beliefs in print and public spaces. The history of
political conflicts between deists and their opponents explains how Americans navigated
questions of religious truth and difference in an age of emerging religious liberty.

Quitting the Nation, Schlereth’s current book in progress, is a history of border crossing that
recounts the largely untold story of Americans who quit their nation to live elsewhere in North
America before 1870. This book connects the growing acceptance of expatriation as a right to
increased American migration throughout North America. Combining legal, political, and
popular writings about expatriation with archival research in the United States and Canada,
Quitting the Nation will explain how a right to expatriation proved useful to Americans as they
encountered powerful indigenous peoples and competing national powers. By understanding past
arguments about a person’s freedom to change citizenship and the obligations of nations to
recognize this freedom, Quitting the Nation provides historical perspective on today’s
commonplace assumptions about rights, citizenship, and border crossing .

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society have
provided financial support for early research on Quitting the Nation. Schlereth’s scholarship has
also appeared in the Journal of American History, Early American Studies, Pennsylvania
Magazine of History and Biography, among other publications.