History, Early America, Native American, Philadelphia, Revolution, Colonial America


Jessica Roney studies bottom-up political culture in colonial America. Her first book, Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: The Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia, studies voluntary associations and civic culture in Philadelphia from its English founding in 1682 until the American Revolution and argues that, in Philadelphia, the civic engagement of ordinary white men (rather than exclusively of elites) was far more pervasive than historians had understood. Her current book project, Revolutionary Settlement: The Colonies of the American Revolution, examines two linked diasporas that resulted from the American Revolution: one of Loyalists predominantly to Canada, and one of Anglo-American settlers to the trans-Appalachian west where they founded colonies that might—or might not—one day be part of the United States. Her work asks how these people (and the policymakers who wanted to regulate them!), who had all lived through the American Revolution, drew meaning from that seismic event, and how they implemented those lessons as they created new colonies as parts of larger empires.

Dr. Roney maintains an active role in early American studies, serving as the convener for the Temple Early Atlantic Seminar (TEAS), a forum  for graduate student works-in-progress, as Associate Editor for Critical Engagements for the Journal of the Early Republic, and on the executive council for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. She was co-investigator with Dr. Rachel Herrmann (Cardiff University) in an Arts and Humanities Research Council Networking Grant (United Kingdom) 
through which they put on multi-year linked programming on the topic “Geographies of Power on Land and Water: Space, People, and Borders.”

Selected Publications

  • Governed by a Spirit of Opposition: Origins of American Political Practice in Colonial Philadelphia (Johns Hopkins Press, 2014)
  • "Containing Multitudes: Time, Space, the US and Vast Early America," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. Vol. 78, No. 2, 261-68 (2021)
  • "1776, Viewed from the West," Journal of the Early Republic, (2017)
  • Editor and Introduction to special volume, "Port Cities in the Early Modern World, 1500-1800," Early American Studies, Vol. 15, No. 4 (2017)
  • "Speaking History to Power: History Policy Briefings in the Classroom," American Association for State and Local History: History News (2016)

Courses Taught

  •  HIST 0848: American Revolutions
  •  HIST 0867: Founding Philadelphia
  •  HIST 2280: Native American History
  •  HIST: 3101: Colonial America
  •  HIST 3102: Revolutionary America
  •  HIST 4296: Writing American History - Senior Capstone
  •  HIST 8101: Introduction to American History (Graduate)
  •  HIST 9200: Graduate Research Seminar