William Anthony Hay

William Anthony Hay


  • War, Power, International Affairs


  • Professor


  • Early Modern and Modern Britain


  • Distance Education Coordinator



William Anthony Hay is a Professor of History specializing in British History, International Relations, and the Atlantic World over the long eighteenth century.  Students looking to pursue graduate work in those fields are encouraged to contact him directly.  Elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2009, Hay is a past-president of the Southern Conference on British Studies.  Along with research grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Earhart Foundation, he has held fellowships at the Lewis Walpole Library and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.  Most recently, Hay was the 2019-20 Garwood Visiting Fellow with James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.
Currently Hay is writing a book tentatively entitled “King George’s Generals: Strategy, Policy and Britain’s War for America, 1763-1781.”  It explores how five British generals—Thomas Gage, Sir William Howe, John Burgoyne, Sir Henry Clinton, and Lord Cornwallis—understood the problems the American Revolution presented them and the ways in which their outlook shaped military operations to defeat it.  As a study in military decision making, it analyzes Britain’s experience from the conflict’s origins in the 1760s through the defeat at Yorktown to illuminate how the British fought the war for America and why they lost it.  Research for the project has drawn Hay into further work on Britain and the American Revolution in global context and grand strategy more generally.
Hay’s most recent book Lord Liverpool: A Political Life (The Boydell Press: 2018) takes the career and outlook of Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, one of Britain’s longest serving prime ministers to examine the crucial transition from the Georgian to the Victorian era. A new project on the Queen Caroline Affair in 1820 builds on Hay’s study of early nineteenth century British politics and culture.
His first book The Whig Revival, 1808-1830 (Palgrave: 2005) examines the political realignment that brought the Whig party to power in 1830 through an alliance with provincial interests. In 2009, he published a volume on Walter Bagehot, the 19th century theorist, political writer, and editor of the Economist, in Pickering and Chatto’s Victorian Political Lives series.

Hay writes regularly for publications including the Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, and Modern Age, along with the online Law and Liberty.  Before coming to Mississippi State, he directed a program on European politics and U.S. foreign policy at Foreign Policy Research Institute (www.fpri.org).  Hay was also book review editor (2001-6) associate editor (2007-9) for the quarterly Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs.  He previously worked with the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.

  • Ph.D. Modern European and International History, 2000; University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia. Concentrations in Early Modern Britain (1450-1760),   Modern Britain (1760-present), Imperial Russia (1600-1917), and International and Transnational History (1700-present).
  • Dissertation: Henry Brougham and the Whigs in Opposition, 1808-1830.
  • M.A. European History, 1992; University of Virginia. Charlottesville, Virginia. Concentrations in Modern Britain (1760-present) and European Diplomacy (1713-present).
  • Thesis: The Mountain's Critique of British Foreign Policy, 1808-1822.
  • B.A. with Honors in History, 1990; University of the South. Sewanee, Tennessee. Majors in History and Philosophy.
  • Honors thesis: Home Rule and the Politics of Irish History, 1870-1890.

• Professor of History, 2019-present.
• Director, College of Arts & Sciences Institute for the Humanities, Mississippi State University, 2013-17.
• Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University, 2008-2019.
• Assistant Professor of History, Mississippi State University, 2003-2008.
• Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2002-.
• Research Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2000-2002.
• Associate Editor for Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 2007-2009.
• Book Review Editor for Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 2001-2009.
• Research Associate, Presidential Oral History Project, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 1999-2000.


  • Lord Liverpool: A Political Life (Boydell & Brewer: 2018).
  • Walter Bagehot vol. III  Lives of Victorian Political Figures, Part IV (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2009
  • Is There Still a West? The Future of the Atlantic Alliance edited with Harvey Sicherman (University of Missouri Press: 2007).
  • The Whig Revival cover

    The Whig Revival, 1808-1830 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004).

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

 "“A Queen on Trial.” History Today (December 2020):

“Lord Liverpool: Eurosceptic.” History Today (October 2018): 68-77.

“An End to Empire? British Strategy in the American Revolution and in Making Peace with the United States” in Justifying Revolution: Law, Virtue, and Violence in the American War of Independence.  Philip Hamilton and Glenn Moots eds.  (University of Oklahoma Press, 2018).

“Lord Liverpool: Alliances, Intervention and the National Interest” in The Tory World: Deep History and the Tory Theme in British Foreign Policy, 1679-2014 (Ashgate, 2015).

“What is Democracy? Liberal Institutions and Stability in Changing Societies,” Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs 50.1(2006):133-151.

 “Henry Brougham and the 1818 Westmorland Election: A Study in Provincial Opinion and Constituency Politics.” Albion  36.1(2004):28-51.

 “The Geopolitics of Europe” Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs 48.2(2003):295-310.

 “A Problem Postponed: Britain and the Future of Austria-Hungary, 1814-1918.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 13.3 (September 2002):57-80.

 “‘If there is a Mob, there is also a People’: Middle Class Politics and the Whig Revival, 1810-1830.” Consortium on Revolutionary Europe: Selected Papers, 2000 (2000):396-402. 

 “Reason, Truth, and Community in Samuel Johnson's Later Work.” Consortium on Revolutionary Europe: Selected Papers, 1997 (1997): 53-60.   

Selected Papers Presented

  “The Paradoxes of Victory:  Waterloo’s Political Consequences at Home and Abroad.”  Invited presentation for an international conference entitled “Waterloo: The Battle the Forged a Century.”  King’s College, London. September 2013.

  “Lord Liverpool: Alliances, Intervention, and Pursuing the National Interest.” Conference on British foreign policy since the 17th century hosted by the University of Exeter.  Exeter, England.  June 2013.

  “King George’s Generals: How the British Lost America.”  Southern Conference on British Studies.  Mobile, Alabama.  November 2012.

  “Avenues of Influence:  Discourse Networks in Britain during the Age of Revolution.”  American Historical Association.  Chicago, Illinois.  January 2012.

  “Order, Counter-Order, Disorder: Sir John Moore and the 1808 Baltic Expedition.”  Southern Conference on British Studies.  Charlotte, North Carolina.  November 2010.

  “Resisting Revolution: Political Management and Public Opinion in Britain in the Age of Reform.”  University of Alabama, European History Seminar.  Tuscaloosa, Alabama. March 2010.

  “Friends, Rivals, Allies: George Canning, Lord Liverpool, and Late Georgian Politics.”  Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850. Charleston, South Carolina. February 2010.

  “Walter Bagehot and the High Tide of Victorian Political Economy.”  American Historical Association.  New York, New York.  2009.        

  “Secret Influence: The Career and Opinions of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool.” Southern Conference on British Studies.  Birmingham, Alabama. 2006.

  “Religion and the Politics of Late Hanoverian Reform: The Durham Clergy Case of 1821.” Southern Conference on British Studies.  Memphis, Tennessee. 2004.

Select Awards and Fellowships:

• Garwood Visting Fellow with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. 2019-20. 
• George Duke Humphrey Faculty Leadership Class.  Office of Research and Economic Development, Mississippi State University. 2014-15.
• Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Archival Research Grant.  2013.
Henry Family Research Fund Award. Mississippi State University 2011.
• Howard H. Peckham Fellowship on Revolutionary America. William L. Clements Library University of Michigan. 2011.
• Elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  2009.
• Earhart Foundation Research Grants.  2007, 2009, 2013, and 2014.
Humanities and Arts Research Program Grants.  Institute for Humanities.  Mississippi State University. 2005, 2009.
• Jackson Brothers Visiting Research Fellowship.  Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.  Yale University.  2007.
• American-Swiss Foundation Young Leader. 2005.
Jacob Price Visiting Research Fellowship.  William L. Clements Library.  University of Michigan. 2005
• Participant Grant-in-Aid for Conference on British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory 1600-1815. Folger Institute.  Folger Shakespeare Library. Washington D.C.  2005.

  • History of England 
  • Tudor-Stuart Britain, 1485-1714* 
  • Modern Britain, 1688-1950* 
  • Modern Western World 
  • Early Western World 
  • Evolution of the International System, 1760-1989* 
  • Graduate Colloquium on Modern Britain, 1760-1940 
* courses split between upper level undergraduate and graduate students