PhD Candidate Patrick Brady is spending 2022 focusing on the research and writing phases of his dissertation, “Loyalist Refugees in Revolutionary South Carolina, 1775-1782." This Spring semester Patrick is the recipient of the Graduate College’s Louis Pelzer Fellowship Award for students studying American History. This award was made possible by Mildred Pelzer Lynch who bequeathed funds to establish this fellowship in honor of Louis Pelzer who was a historian and professor at the University of Iowa. In addition to the Pelzer Fellowship, he was recently awarded the CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship for Summer and Fall 2022. This dedicated time will assist him in completing and defending the dissertation in spring 2023.
Patrick’s dissertation explores the economic and social forces in Revolutionary South Carolina that led colonists to side with the British Empire. The Revolutionary War was far from an orderly and mostly peaceful ideological conflict. The war in South Carolina was complicated by decades of Indian wars, an oppressed majority of enslaved laborers, and a tiny minority of planters and merchants that benefitted from the chaos for their own ends. The partisan violence and political chaos threatened to shatter the institutions that supported the Carolina economy and white society. Whereas the British colonial government coordinated Indian relations and suppressed slave revolts, the Revolutionary Committees came with theft, eviction, and uncertainty. Colonists looked to British and loyalist authorities to reinstate good government and safeguard their person, family, and property. By connecting how the forces of paternalism and slavery shaped the lives of loyalist slaveowners in the postwar British Empire, he will attempt to shed more light on the complex relationship between loyalists, settlers, and British officials.
“My dissertation examines southern loyalist slaveowners whose commitments to slavery challenged conceptions of liberty, property, and subjecthood in the British Empire.”
Patrick, who has been interested in history since he was young, did not start out on the path to becoming a history instructor. In fact, if it wasn’t for some of his favorite undergraduate history professors at Northern Illinois University convincing him to go to graduate school (and he’s “very, very grateful” they did), he would be finishing law school instead of writing his dissertation. Patrick hails from Crystal Lake, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago, but decided on attending Iowa to work with several of our history faculty including his advisor, Tom Arne Midtrod, who also earned a PhD from Patrick’s undergrad alma mater.
Despite the struggles of researching and writing during a pandemic, Patrick was able to make strides towards completing his work. Last February, he published an article based on his dissertation prospectus in the Journal of the American Revolution and during the summer of 2021, he was able to take a research trip to Charleston, SC, the focus area of his dissertation topic.
“Loyalist Slave-Owning Refugees in Postwar Jamaica,” Journal of the American Revolution
His career plans after graduation remain fluid; however, teaching is his passion. He’s not yet decided what level of education he wants to teach but he’s leaning towards private secondary schools that emphasize the humanities.