The American Revolution’s Best Kept Secret: Why East and West Florida Mattered

Presented By Roger Smith

Based on his award winner doctoral dissertation, Dr. Roger Smith shares newly recovered information concerning British intentions in the southern colonies during the American Revolution. Did you know that there was more than one British southern invasion, or that George Washington penned over 80 letters to his general staff and the Continental Congress about St. Augustine? Did you know that there were 34 colonies that comprised the British Americas, stretching from Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic to Grenada in the farthest reaches of the southern Caribbean—and when measured, the geographic center of this vast area is two miles north of the St. Johns River in present-day Jacksonville. Dr. Smith’s research reveals that not only was the South crucial to the needs of the empire from 1775 on, but that East and West Florida played critical roles in these designs.

Dr. Smith received his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2006, a Master’s Degree in American History in 2008, and a Ph.D. in Early American History and Atlantic World Studies, with a certificate of scholarship in Museum Studies, in 2011 – all from the University of Florida. His work on the American Revolution in the South has received the Aschoff Fellowship Dissertation Award and the Jack and Celia Proctor Award in Southern History. Dr. Smith’s upcoming book, The Last Union Jack, discusses the little-told story of British intention and military activity in the southern colonies from 1775 – 1780, as recorded from a British perspective.

Dr. Smith now represents the firm of Colonial Research Associates, Inc., and speaks across the South on his Revolutionary War research. His current projects include the new AMC television series Turn, a spy thriller set on Long Island, New York, in 1778. Dr. Smith provides historical research for Super Music Vision, the music production company for this and other AMC programs. You may also see Dr. Smith speak of Florida’s Revolutionary War history in the documentary, America: the Prequel, a four-part series on the 450-year history of the city of St. Augustine. Most recently, Dr. Smith is in the process of selecting several primary stories of interest from his 5 ½ years of research on this topic and reworking them into a series of six 32-page supplemental texts that are designed to reach a broad general audience and will include state standard requirements in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the State of Florida’s public school systems. The first two books in the series, “The 14th Colony: George Washington’s Planned Invasions of East Florida” and “Hope of Freedom: Southern Blacks and the American Revolution,” are available and may be found on the company website, Book three, “Women of the American Revolution: Lost Voices of America’s First Generation,” is in production and will be available by spring 2016.

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Roger Smith