Alan Taylor

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair


485 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday 9:00-11:30

Field & Specialties

Colonial North America
American Revolution
Early Republic
Pre-Confederation Canada
American West


Ph.d.: American History, Brandeis University, 1986.

Family and Community History Summer Training Institute in Quantitative History, Newberry Library, 1981.  

B.A.:  History, Colby College, 1977.

Born in Portland, Maine on June 17, 1955, Alan Taylor attended Colby College, graduating in 1977.  After serving as a researcher for historic preservation in the United States Virgin Islands (1977-79), he pursued graduate study at Brandeis University, receiving his Ph.d in American History in 1986.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, Virginia), he taught in the history department at Boston University from 1987 to 1994.  From 1994 to 2014 he was a professor at the University of California at Davis, since 2014 he has held the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia.

In 2002 he won the University of California at Davis Award for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement and the Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award. In 2016 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 (New York: W. W. Norton Co., 2016).


The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 (New York: W. W. Norton Co., 2013).

* Finalist for the National Book Award for non-fiction * Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for American History * Winner of the Merle Curti Prize (OAH) *


The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).

* Empire State History Book Prize * Finalist for the George Washington Prize *


The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).

* 2007 Society for Historians of the  Early American Republic Book Prize * 2005-2007 Society of the Cincinnati Triennial Cox Book Prize  *


Writing Early American History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).


American Colonies (New York: Viking-Penguin, 2001).

* 2002 Gold Medal for Non-Fiction awarded by the Commonwealth Club of California *


William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

* New York State Historical Association Manuscript Award * Society for Historians of the  Early American Republic Book Prize Beveridge Prize (American Historical Association) in the History of the Americas *  Bancroft Prize in American History *  Pulitzer Prize in United States History *


Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990).




Lewis & Clark: Journey to Another America (St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 2003).




Thomas Jefferson's Education examines the revolutionary transformation of primary and higher education in Virginia with an emphasis on the decline of the College of William and Mary and creation of the University of Virginia.


Awards & Honors

During the 2016-2017 academic year he will serve as the Harmsworth Professor at the University of Oxford

Douglas Southall Freeman Visiting Professor, University of Richmond (2010)

U. C. Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement (2002)

Phi Beta Kappa, Northern California Association, Teaching Excellence Award (2002)

Courses Taught

Colonial North America; American Revolution; Early Republic; Pre-Confederation Canada;  American West

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts