Champlain College Historian Revisits War of 1812 in ‘Unshackling America'

Unshackling America Book cover

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A new book by Champlain College historian and Professor Willard Sterne Randall re-examines the War of 1812 in "Unshackling America: How the War of 1812 Truly Ended the American Revolution."
Randall, who has been working on the book for the past six years, provides a fresh retelling of the American Revolution, looks at how it took longer than we thought to get our freedoms and challenges the persistent fallacy that Americans fought two separate wars of independence. It will be released on June 27 by St. Martin's Press in hardcover and eBook.
Randall documents an unremitting 50-year-long struggle for economic independence from Britain overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. Throughout this perilous period, the struggle was all about free trade, Randall writes.
"Neither Jefferson nor any other Founding Father could divine that the Revolutionary Period of 1763 to 1783 had concluded only one part, the first phase of their ordeal. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War halted overt combat but had achieved only partial political autonomy from Britain," he notes. "By not guaranteeing American economic independence and agency, Britain continued to deny American sovereignty."
"Unshackling America," details five decades of persistent attempts by the British to control American trade waters, but also shows how, despite the outrageous restrictions, the United States asserted the doctrine of neutral rights and developed the world's second largest merchant fleet which eventually led to the United States becoming the world's largest independent maritime power.
Randall is a journalist and author of several biographies of Founding Fathers. He is a Distinguished Scholar in History and long-time Professor at Champlain College. He lives in Burlington, Vermont with his wife, Nancy Nahra with whom he has co-authored multiple volumes of history.
Willard Sterne Randall

Jack Kelly, author of "Band of Giants" and "Heaven's Ditch" said of "Unshackling America," "Willard Randall gives us an account of the early republic that finally makes sense of the "forgotten" War of 1812, even as it turns the conflict itself into an exciting drama. The big issues of that era-free trade, a refugee crisis, brutal party rivalries, and foreign meddling in American affairs-resonate with our own headlines. This is history as it should be written: illuminating insights grounded in gritty reality."

"Unshackled America" is the main summer selection of the History Book Club and alternate selection of Military Book Club and the Library of Science. Kirkus Reviews said it is "a well-researched history that shows how the War of 1812 created America's final separation from England" and Publishers Weekly's review said, "Randall brings to life the violent skirmishes that played out in the name of trade on sea, lake, and land."
He will be interviewed on SiriusXM "Knowledge@Wharton" on July 6, and on July 15, he will speak at Politics & Prose in Washington D.C. Randall will be speaking about his book this summer with book signings in Vermont:

  • June 27 at 7 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 102 Dorset St., South Burlington. More Info 
  • June 30 at 7 p.m., Northshire Bookstore, 4869 Main St., Manchester Center. More Info 
  • July 6, at 7 p.m., The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, held off-site at the Residence at Otter Creek, 350 Lodge Road, Middlebury. More Info 
  • Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the North Hero Public Library, 3195 US-2, North Hero, sponsored by the Grand Isle Free Public Library.
  • Aug. 20 at 2 p.m., Ethan Allen Homestead, 1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington. 

For more about Randall's new book, book tour, and his other publications, visit his website 

For more information:  Kathryn Hough Boutross, St. Martin's Press, 646-600-7895 |

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit