John Lothrop Motley (April 15, 1814 – May 29, 1877) was an American author, best known for his two popular histories The Rise of the Dutch Republic and The United Netherlands. He was also a diplomat, who helped to prevent European intervention on the side of the Confederates in the American Civil War.
In 1846, Motley had begun to plan a history of the Netherlands, in particular the period of the United Provinces, and he had already done a large amount of work on this subject when, finding the materials at his disposal in the United States inadequate, he went with his wife and children to Europe in 1851. The next five years were spent at Dresden, Brussels, and The Hague in investigation of the archives, which resulted in 1856 in the publication of The Rise of the Dutch Republic, which became very popular. It speedily passed through many editions and was translated into Dutch, French, German, and Russian. In 1860, Motley published the first two volumes of its continuation, The United Netherlands.This work was on a larger scale and embodied the results of a still greater amount of original research was brought down to the truce of 1609 by two additional volumes, published in 1867.