Cover

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I shall begin by recognizing a deep obligation to three friends and colleagues. Walter Nugent, University of Notre Dame, read the entire draft of this manuscript. His wisdom and insight have immeasurably improved the final version. Leslie Schwalm, University of...

Abbreviations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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A Note on Citations, Quotations, Maps, and Place Names

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p. xv

Throughout this volume I have not cited secondary literature except where it bears directly on a specific point under discussion. The size of the bibliography of literature on the trans- Appalachian frontier makes complete citations impossible...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

This is a book about the first American frontier of the trans- Appalachian West. More specifically, it is about the varied experiences of people, the emergence of societies, and the development of institutions on the trans-Appalachian frontier from 1775...

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Part I. Across the Mountains

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pp. 17-21

The year 1775 opened on a static America. For one hundred and sixty-five years of permanent Anglo-American settlement, occupation of the continent had proceeded inland, but never rapidly. Indian peoples, political intrigue, imperial considerations, vast...

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1. The Struggle for Security

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pp. 22-49

In June of 1774 a group of land surveyors led by James Harrod laid out a settlement near the headwaters of the Salt River in that broad expanse of land south of the Ohio River known as Kentucky. This act was the culmination of the new, intense interest in...

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2. The Search for Stability

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pp. 50-81

At some point in the pioneering cycle, the early settlers turned their attention from security to stability. When the immediate demands of physical safety, shelter, and subsistence were satisfied, or nearly so, the question arose how best to confirm the...

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3. Security and Stability in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio

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pp. 82-112

To the north of the expanding frontiers of Kentucky and Tennessee lay a fertile and well-watered land. Indian peoples had occupied this landscape and lived off its rich natural resources for thousands of years. Amidst the movement and confusion...

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Part II. The Widening Frontier, 1795–1815

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pp. 113-120

From 1795 to 1815 the frontier of the trans-Appalachian West expanded in landscape, in numbers, and in varieties of peoples. Within this largely agricultural world appeared new crops and new units of production, assisted by new technology in...

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4. The Reach of Government and the Authority of Law Spread across the Western Country

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pp. 121-153

Between the diplomatic landmarks of 1794–95 and the close of the war in 1815, affairs in the western country at every level bore the imprint of government. Its overwhelming influence seemed to contradict the very premise of the West: that is to say, that by...

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5. Diverse Economies Moving toward Commercial Ends

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pp. 154-187

Between 1795 and 1815 the dominant feature in the economic development of the trans-Appalachian frontier was the Ohio- Missouri-Mississippi river trade axis. This broad continental water highway, connecting Pittsburgh—by way of Louisville...

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6. Many Varied Societies Emerge across the Western Country

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pp. 188-222

Between 1795 and 1815 several societies emerged on the trans- Appalachian frontier, as individuals, families, and groups living west of the mountains found a common past, shared values, similar goals—in short, a sense of identity, one with another...

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Part III. The First Great Migration, 1815–1830

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pp. 223-232

Shortly after its confluence with the Miami River, the Ohio—“la belle Rivière” of the early French fur traders—turns sharply to the south and west. For almost three hundred miles it runs to its rendezvous with the Mississippi, whence the waters of the two...

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7. Across the Old Northwest and into Missouri

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pp. 233-273

“Old America seems to be breaking up, and moving westward,” wrote Morris Birkbeck as he observed the rush of settlement down the Ohio in the spring of 1817. “We are seldom out of sight, as we travel on this grand track towards the Ohio, of family...

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8. The Flowering of the Cotton Frontier

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pp. 274-309

The First Great Migration, which began in 1815, spread across the western country, and the frontier south of the Ohio experienced the same rush of immigration that occurred to the north. Among the reasons for this movement were a postwar...

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Part IV. The Enduring Frontiers

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pp. 311-315

The Great Migration that began in 1815 was a frontier experience of high expectation: of landownership, not tenancy; of wealth, not subsistence; of security, not uncertainty. It was the immigration of a confident people, buoyed by success in war, secure from...

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9. Michigan: The Great Lakes Frontier

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pp. 316-350

Michigan had a long European settlement experience. Founded in 1701 to serve the French fur-trade empire, Detroit became a British possession under the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and, after prolonged negotiations, American in 1796. The region’s routine...

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10. Florida: A Sectional Frontier

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pp. 351-387

When John Quincy Adams and Don Luis de Onís signed the treaty of cession in 1819, Florida resembled a typical Spanish frontier: a few scattered military outposts with missionary churches, surrounded by thousands of square miles of open...

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11. Arkansas: A Frontier More West than South

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pp. 388-417

On his voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1814, Thomas Bolling Robertson of Louisiana “fell in with a canoe navigated by a man and two women.” Robertson engaged the man in conversation. Yes, he was originally from North...

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Part V. The Second Great Migration, 1830–1850

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pp. 419-422

The years from 1830 to 1850 saw the climax of an impulse to expansion as old as the American nation. The pioneer men and women who followed Boone’s Wilderness Road in 1775 were the first generation of the trans-Appalachian frontier. Their children...

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12. The New Counties of Alabama and Mississippi: A Frontier More South than West

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pp. 423-454

From the beginning of Anglo-American settlement west of the Appalachians, the presence of large and powerful Indian tribes had shaped the frontier of the South. The War of 1812 and the First Great Migration changed this condition but only in part...

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13. The Last Frontier of the Old Northwest:Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin

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pp. 455-487

Massive numbers and great varieties of peoples characterized the last frontier of the Old Northwest. They came from the earlier trans-Appalachian frontiers in the Ohio Valley, from New York and New England, from the Atlantic Coast and...

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Part VI. The Trans-Appalachian Westand the Nation

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pp. 489-491

By 1850 the lands west of the Appalachians, which had contained only a handful of settlers in Kentucky in 1775, had a population of more than ten million. The new land settlements stretched west to Des Moines, north to the Wisconsin River, and...

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14. Villages, Towns, and Cities Spread across the Western Country

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pp. 492-527

In 1775, at the outbreak of the American Revolution and the opening of this story, European America was a rural world. It was a series of regional societies united around the possession and cultivation of the soil. These societies took various forms...

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15. Changing Political Patterns across Three Generations

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pp. 528-555

The political life of the trans-Appalachian frontier began with its first permanent settlements. From the beginning, the challenges of the wilderness demanded that people organize and pool their resources to perform tasks that individuals could not...

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16. The Trans-Appalachian West and the Nation

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pp. 556-581

The trans-Appalachian West emerges from a shadowy but discrete series of landscapes and peoples. Bounded on the east by the escarpment of the Appalachian range, it stretches west to the edge of the prairies, close to the broad grassland known as the...

Notes

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pp. 583-636

Bibliography

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pp. 637-655

Index

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pp. 657-675