Ronald Angelo Johnson
Ronald Angelo Johnson is a historian of the early United States with research interests including the American Revolution, the Early U.S. Republic, the Atlantic World, and Atlantic Revolutions. His specializations are diplomacy, race, and religion. Of particular emphasis are early U.S. foreign relations, immigration, the African Diaspora and cultural encounters in early America.
He is currently writing his second book, Revolutionary Relations: How the United States and Haiti Forged a Shared History. This work explores how the ideals of the Declaration of Independence created the foundation of early American diplomacy and informed subsequent Atlantic revolutions. It examines the diplomatic and cultural connections between the western Atlantic world’s first two nation-states. Combining materials from Caribbean and European archives with a wide range of U.S. printed and manuscript sources, Revolutionary Relations is the first study to identify 18th and early 19th-century migrants from Haiti as an immigrant group and to measure their contributions to early American society.
His first book, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance (University of Georgia Press, 2014), analyzes early U.S. diplomacy against the backdrop of Atlantic world revolutions and American slavery. The book tells a story of Americans and Haitians circumventing domestic and international mores of intercultural relations. President John Adams and his administration established diplomatic ties with the governing regime of Toussaint Louverture on a basis similar to their relationship with European nations. Diplomacy in Black and White illustrates that the alliance between Americans and the Haitian revolutionary government possessed the potential to influence later independence movements and racial conflicts across the western Atlantic world.
Johnson is co-editing In Search of Liberty: African American Internationalism in the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World, a scholarly volume that examines how revolutionary movements, religious beliefs, and abolitionist zeal facilitated migrations of black peoples across the Atlantic world.
As a scholar of the early U.S. from a transnational perspective, Johnson locates international and multicultural voices of historical actors at the heart of teaching about the American experience. He teaches introductory surveys of U.S. History, as well as upper-level undergraduate classes on early U.S. Diplomacy, American Religious History, and an International Studies Senior Seminar. He leads graduate reading and research seminars in Early and Modern U.S. Diplomacy, American Religion, and History of the Black Church. He encourages students to think courageously, to embrace points of view regarding history in ways previously unimagined. Johnson is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Teaching, the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Texas State University Alumni Association Teaching Award of Honor.
In the Media
- “Living History Today” lecture
- Interview with Liz Covart on Ben Franklin's Word
- Diplomacy in Black and White book talk
- Johnson featured in “What Makes Texas State so great?” video
- Op-Ed in Austin American-Statesman: “Texas and Italy - Two Immigration Stories”
- From The Boston Globe: “A night of history and politics in Salem”
History of the United States to 1877
Early U.S. Diplomacy
Religion in America
History of the United States from 1877
Modern U.S. Diplomacy
Problems in U.S. Diplomatic History
International Studies Senior Seminar
Religion and the American Revolution
Early American Diplomacy
History of Atlantic World Revolutions
Religion in Colonial America
Modern American Diplomacy
African American History
African American History, 1865-1945