Matthew Ward

+44 (0) 1382 384181
Senior Lecturer in History



Before joining the University of Dundee in 1992 I completed my postgraduate work in the United States at the College of William and Mary where I also taught a number of courses.

My current research examines the Seven Years' War in North America and its effects on Native Americans, French-Canadians and Anglo-American settlers.

More broadly I am interested in Britain's involvement in early America, and the interaction of the British Empire with different peoples. This is reflected in my background, as I have been described in one review of my work as a 'genuinely trans-Atlantic product' with English roots, an American PhD, Canadian research interests, living and working in Scotland. These research interests take me to both sides of the Atlantic, conducting much of my research in archives in London, Canada and the United States, and giving conference papers on both sides of the Atlantic.

I am a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History:

View Matthew Ward's PURE profile



My teaching broadly focuses on the colonisation of North America, particularly the British mainland colonies. I teach a wide range of modules across all levels of the university curriculum.

I am currently convenor of the Core Level 1 History Module ‘The Rise of Atlantic Empires’ and the Core Level 2 American History module ‘America: The Land of the Free.’ I also teach a number of modules at level 3 and 4 including the special subject ‘The Early American Frontier, 1750-1830.’

At postgraduate level I am convenor for the Global Empires MLitt course and for the Rise of Global Empires module as well as teaching my own module Key Themes in Early American History.



My research interests lie in the interaction of European peoples with native peoples in North America. My research has focussed on a number of issues including imperial warfare and the impact that long-term clashes between imperial powers had on both native and settler populations.

I view early American history in many ways as an extension of British history and I do not limit my study to the current United States, but also include Canada and the West Indies.

My early work focused on the impact of the Seven Years' War in Virginia and Pennsylvania. My current research looks more broadly at the development of imperial relations in the mid-eighteenth century and in particular the relationship between Native Americans, Anglo-American settlers and the British Army in the mid-west and Great Lakes region.

Current Long-Term Project

I am currently completing a major research project funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council examining law, manhood, and violence in the backcountry from 1730-1815 (focusing on Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky). As part of the project I am completing a book entitled Making the Frontier Man: Manhood, Violence and Order in the Early American Backcountry, 1730-1815.

I am a member of the Scottish Centre for Global History:

Suggested Areas for Postgraduate Supervision

  • The British Army and its relationship with Native Americans and Euro-Americans in the eighteenth century.
  • The fur trade in the trans-Appalachian West.
  • The first British Empire.
  • The early American frontier and backcountry.

AHRC funded studentships are available in my research area - more details.

Research Problems

In the past decade work on both sides of the Atlantic has transformed our understanding of the nature of the early American 'frontier.' We now see the area as a dynamic region of exchange between different cultures and different peoples. I am particularly interested in examining this 'cultural interchange' and in particular some of the following issues.

  • Was violence always endemic to frontier culture?
  • How did the presence of the British army in the trans-Appalachian west and on the Great Lakes affect relations between settlers and Native Americans?
  • How can we explain Native American population decline in the eighteenth century?
  • How did Anglo-French and Anglo-American competition in the mid-west and Great Lakes region affect the lives of the region's Native American inhabitants?
  • How important was the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region to the British Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century?




  • 1759: The Campaign for Quebec, Britain's Conquest of Canada (Tempus Publishers, 2005)
  • Breaking the Backcountry: The Seven Years' War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1754-1765 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003)


  • 'Guns, Violence, and Identity on the Trans-Appalachian Frontier' in A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire, edited Giacamo Macola and Karen Jones, (Ashgate, 2013)
  • ‘The Ohio Indians and the Seven Years’ War’ in Roger Chickering, ed., The Seven Years War in Global Context, (Brill, 2012)
  • ‘Crossing the Line? The British Army and the Application of European ‘Rules of War’ in the Quebec Campaign.’ in 1759 Revisited edited by Philip Buckner and John Reid, (University of Toronto Press, 2011)
  • ‘The American Militias: “The Garnish of the Table”?’ in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster eds. War in an Age of Revolution: The Wars of American Independence and the French Revolution, 1775-1815 (Cambridge, 2010)
  • ‘“The Peaceable Kingdom Destroyed”: The Seven Years’ War and the Transformation of the Pennsylvania Backcountry,’ Pennsylvania History, 74, 2007, pp.247-279
  • 'The North American Militias: Lessons Learned and Unlearned' in Roger Chickering & Stig Förster, eds., War in an Age of Revolution: The Wars of American Independence and the French Revolution, 1776-1815 (Cambridge University Press, 2006)
  • 'The Indians our real friends': The British Army and the Ohio Indians, 1758-1774' in Daniel P. Barr (ed.), The Boundaries Between Us: Natives, Newcomers, and the Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1740-1840, (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2005)
  • '''The Microbes of War:'' The British Army and Epidemic Disease amongst the Ohio Indians, 1758-1763', in David K. Skaggs and Larry L. Nelson (eds.), The Sixty Years War for the Great Lakes, (Michigan State University Press, 2001), pp.63-78
  • 'Redeeming the Captives: Pennsylvania Captives amongst the Ohio Indians, 1755-1765,' Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, CXXV, 2001, pp.161-189
  • '''The European Method of Warring is not Practised Here'' The Failure of British Military Strategy in the Ohio Valley, 1755-1763', War in History, 4, 1997 pp. 247-263
  • 'Fighting the ''Old Women'': Indian Strategy on the Virginia and Pennsylvania Frontier 1754-1758,' Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, CIII, 1995, pp. 297-320
  • 'An Army of Servants: The Pennsylvania Regiment during the Seven Years' War,' Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, CXIX, 1995, pp. 75-93