Denver Brunsman

Denver Brunsman portrait

Denver Brunsman

Department Chair

Early American Republic, British Atlantic World


Office Phone: (202) 994-6254
801 22nd St NW Washington DC 20052

Denver Brunsman writes on the politics and social history of the American Revolution, early American republic, and British Atlantic world. His courses include “George Washington and His World,” taught annually at Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World (2013), and coauthor of a leading U.S. History textbook, Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People (2016; 2020), as well as the e-books Leading Change: George Washington and Establishing the Presidency (2017) and George Washington and the Establishment of the Federal Government (2020), among other publications. His honors include the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence and induction into the George Washington University Academy of Distinguished Teachers as well as selection to the College Board AP U.S. History Development Committee (2018-23; Higher Ed Chair, 2021-23). He frequently leads K-12 professional development programs for organizations such as the George Washington Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, with whom he has twice partnered to lead the NEH Summer Institute “The Making of America: Colonial Era to Reconstruction.” Currently, he also serves as project director for “The Long Struggle for Equality: The Declaration of Independence at 250,” a national traveling exhibition with accompanying public programs sponsored by Gilder Lehrman and a recipient of a Public Humanities Projects Planning Grant from the NEH.

Complete C.V. (PDF)

  • Britain
  • Colonial and Revolutionary America
  • Early Modern World
  • Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Military History

HIST 1310: Introduction to American History from the Pre-Columbian Era to 1877

HIST 2305: Majors Introductory Seminar in the United States (War of 1812)

HIST 3044W: The Price of Freedom: Normandy 1944

HIST 3303: Revolutionary America

HIST 3304: George Washington and His World

HIST 6001: Graduate Seminar in the British Atlantic World

HIST 6303: Graduate Seminar in Revolutionary America


George Washington and the Establishment of the Federal Government (Bedford Document Collections e-book). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2020.

Co-author, Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People (enhanced 7th edition). Boston: Cengage, 2020.

Co-author, Leading Change: George Washington and Establishing the Presidency. George Washington’s Mount Vernon for iTunes, 2017.

The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013. Walker Cowen Memorial Prize, University of Virginia Press; Honorable Mention, John Lyman Book Award (“U.S. Maritime History”), North American Society for Oceanic History.

Co-editor, The American Revolution Reader. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Co-editor, Border Crossings: The Detroit River Region in the War of 1812. Detroit: Detroit Historical Society, 2012. State History Book Award, Historical Society of Michigan; Leadership in History Award, American Association for State and Local History. 

Co-editor, Colonial America: Essays in Politics and Social Development (6th edition). New York: Routledge, 2011.

Co-editor, Revolutionary Detroit: Portraits in Political and Cultural Change, 1760-1805. Detroit: Detroit Historical Society, 2009.


“Pledging Their Fortunes: The Professions of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.” History Now 64 (Fall 2022).

Pirates vs. Press Gangs: The Battle for the Atlantic.” História (São Paulo) 38 (Jan. 2019): 1-16.

‘Executioners of Their Friends and Brethren’: Naval Impressment as an Atlantic Civil War.” In The American Revolution Reborn, edited by Patrick K. Spero and Michael W. Zuckerman, 82-104. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.

De-Anglicization: The Jeffersonian Attack on an American Naval Establishment.” In Anglicizing America: Empire, Revolution, Republic, edited by Ignacio Gallup-Diaz, Andrew Shankman, and David J. Silverman, 205-25. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

James Madison and the National Gazette Essays: The Birth of a Party Politician.” In A Companion to James Madison and James Monroe, edited by Stuart Leibiger. Malden, MA.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Subjects vs. Citizens: Impressment and Identity in the Anglo-American Atlantic.” Journal of the Early Republic 30 (Winter 2010): 557-86.

Men of War: British Sailors and the Impressment Paradox.” Journal of Early Modern History 14 (Spring 2010): 9-44.

The Knowles Atlantic Impressment Riots of the 1740s.” Early American Studies 5 (Fall 2007): 324-66.

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2004

MA, Princeton University, 2000

BA, St. Olaf College, 1997