The American Revolution and the Habsburg Monarchy (Charlottesville/London: University of Virginia Press, 2021).

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In 1783, the Peace of Paris treaties famously concluded the American Revolution. However, the Revolution could have come to an end two years earlier had diplomats from the Habsburg realms—the largest continental European power—succeeded in their attempts to convene a Congress of Vienna in 1781. Bringing together materials from nearly fifty American, Austrian, Belgian, British, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak, and Swedish archives, Jonathan Singerton reconstructs the full sweep of relations between the nascent United States and one of the oldest European dynasties during and after the American Revolution.

The first account to analyze the impact of the American Revolution in the Habsburg lands in full, this book highlights how the American call to liberty was answered across the furthest reaches of central and eastern Europe. Although the United States failed to sway one of the largest, most powerful states in Europe to its side in the War for American Independence, for several years, the Habsburg ruling and mercantile elites saw opportunity, especially for commerce, in the news of the American Revolution. In the end, only Thomas Jefferson’s disdain for Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and avoidance of Habsburg diplomatic representatives in Paris prevented Vienna’s formal recognition of the United States, resulting in a half century of uneven Habsburg-American relations.

By delineating the earliest social and economic exchanges between the Habsburg monarchy and the United States after 1776, Singerton offers a broad reexamination of the American Revolution and its international reverberations and presents the Habsburg monarchy as a globally-oriented power in the late eighteenth century.

“The Habsburg dimension of the American Revolution is a conspicuous gap in the scholarly literature. This alone is reason to welcome Jonathan Singerton’s book. Accessibly written and extremely well researched, it tells a fascinating story, from a Viennese family who named their young son Benjamin Silas Arthur for the three American representatives in Paris, to Habsburg encounters with Native Americans in New York, to American smugglers and pirates in Europe. Singerton does a superb job of capturing the breadth of Habsburg engagement with the Revolution as a cultural phenomenon, as a diplomatic problem, and as a commercial opportunity.”

Eliga H. Gould, University of New Hampshire
Author of Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of New World Empire.

“A pathbreaking study making a major contribution to both American and European history. Particularly valuable is his treatment of Thomas Jefferson’s responsibility for the failure of American-Austrian trade relations.”

Jonathan R. Dull, Yale University
Author of A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution.

Future Works:

Beginning Her World Anew: The Life of Maria von Born (1766-1830), anticipated submission in summer 2022.

I plan on submitting my next manuscript in summer 2022. The biography of an Austrian countess—Maria von Born, who fled to the United States in the 1790s and returned to Vienna in the late-1810s—will be used as a vehicle to explore to the divergent political and social worlds offered by the early American republic and post-Napoleonic central Europe, including the Italian peninsula.

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