Jake Ruddiman


Assistant Professor John A. Ruddiman
Early American History
B-3 Tribble Hall; 758-4289
Email: ruddimja@wfu.edu





BioBrought up in a small town in central New Jersey at the crossroads of the American Revolution, Jake Ruddiman has always enjoyed the intertwining of past and present. Putting down roots in the red clay of the Carolina Piedmont presents new and exciting questions and challenges. Early America draws him as a teacher and historian because it stands as a hinge between eras. It mixes the familiar and foreign, mythic and controversial, foundational and revolutionary. The era’s actors point us towards questions of human experience: how did people build lives, communities, and meaning? And the American Revolution – boldly begun but never quite finished – pushes us to engage with its triumphs and failures, demanding we challenge ourselves to seek what still remains to be done.

His 2014 book, Becoming Men of Some Consequence: Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War, explores the lives and choices of young men in the military maelstrom of the American Revolution. His current research examines the roles of slavery and enslaved people in soldiers’ travel writing during the War of American Independence.

B.A.      Princeton University 2000
M.A.     Yale University 2004
Ph.D.   Yale University 2010

Academic Appointments:
Wake Forest University.  Assistant Professor (2010-present)

Click here for complete CV.

PublicationsBecoming Men of Some Consequence: Youth and Military Service in the Revolutionary War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014).

“A Record in the Hands of Thousands: Power and Persuasion in the Orderly Books of the Continental Army,”  William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd series, 67:4 (October 2010).

For a complete list of publications, click CV.


  • HST 108 Americas and the World
    The nickname of a nation-state, the label for two continents, an idea, and a space where human history careened in a new direction — the history of the Americas is one of the movement of people and the creation of new communities, cultures, and identities. This course examines the catastrophically disruptive Columbian exchange, colonization and the first globalization, the explosion of slavery and the rise of abolition, an age of revolutions, the rise of new empires, and the contested ideas of citizenship and liberty.
  • HST 258 Colonial America
    Columbus’s discovery of the “new world” reconnected human communities that had been divided for millennia. In this course, North America provides a historical laboratory in which we compare the mixing of peoples, the creation of new societies, and the collision of empires. Most importantly, we explore the ways in which Indian peoples, West Africans, and Europeans created new worlds for all.
  • HST 259 Revolutionary America
    The American Revolution was a social and political process that converted British colonists into insurgents and then into revolutionaries. It united a cluster of disparate colonies into a confederation with a common cause. This course will examine the mentalities and actions of both rebellious and loyal colonial men and women, the experiences among the elite, middling, and lower ranks of society, and the choices made by Native American nations and enslaved African-Americans. Examining the political, economic, social, cultural, and military developments of the Revolutionary period reveals the complicated nature of this nation’s founding, as well as what that generation achieved and failed to complete.
  • HST 353 War and Society in Early America
    This course examines the evolution of warfare among the indigenous and colonial societies of North America between 1500 and 1800 and considers the roles of economics, class, gender, race, religion, and ideology in cultures of violence. The course begins with the transformation of “mourning wars” in Iroquoia, moves to consider exterminatory violence practiced by French, Dutch, and English colonists along the seaboard, then addresses how Spanish, French, and British empires competed for control of Indian allies and possession of the Continent. It concludes with the American War for Independence and the dueling ideologies of American exceptionalism and pan-Indianism.
  • HST 354 The Early American Republic
    This course examines the transformation of politics, society, and culture across the first generation of the United States. After the Revolution, Americans embarked on a purposeful and anxious journey of self-creation. The challenges of new republican constitutions and governments loomed large, but this process also touched religious beliefs, gender and the family, race and slavery, and their economies and international affairs.