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American Confluence

The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State

Stephen Aron

Publication Year: 2006

In the heart of North America, the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers come together, uniting waters from west, north, and east on a journey to the south. This is the region that Stephen Aron calls the American Confluence. Aron's innovative book examines the history of that region -- a home to the Osage, a colony exploited by the French, a new frontier explored by Lewis and Clark -- and focuses on the region's transition from a place of overlapping borderlands to one of oppositional border states. American Confluence is a lively account that will delight both the amateur and professional historian.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier

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pp. ix-xi

Since this book is about the compromises and collaborations that once characterized the frontiers at the confluence of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers, it is appropriate that I acknowledge the accommodations and adjustments made for me by many individuals and institutions. Thanks to Walter Nugent and Malcolm Rohrbough for engaging me to write a book about...

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pp. xiii-xxi

In the heart of North America, the continent’s three greatest rivers come together. As the crow flies, only about 135 miles separate the points where the Missouri and the Ohio join the Mississippi. Together, the three rivers drain a vast portion of North America, uniting waters from west, north, and east on a journey to the south in a region that I have designated the “American confluence.”...

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I. Openings

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pp. 1-38

Not until the end of the seventeenth century did European colonists establish a permanent presence on the east bank of the Mississippi River between the mouths of the Missouri and Ohio rivers; not until the middle of the eighteenth century did Europeans found a town on the western side of the Mississippi in the confluence region. But a frontier history...

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2. Traditions

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pp. 39-68

During the 1740s, land grants enticed habitants to cross the Mississippi and, around 1750, to establish the village of Ste. Genevieve. Initially, this crossing made no difference. Life in and around the new village resembled the older towns on the other side of the Mississippi. On both sides of the Mississippi, French villagers drew on and departed from colonial histories. In their system of...

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3. Newcomers

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pp. 69-105

The American Revolution resulted in another remapping of the confluence region. For the most part, however, the intercultural accommodations that had developed in previous decades persisted through the last quarter of the eighteenth century. Taking over the eastern side of the confluence region, Americans initially repeated the mistakes of British officials after the Seven Years’ War. But the strength displayed by...

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4. Transfers

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pp. 106-148

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the western side of the confluence region changed colonial hands not once but twice. First, Spain sold Louisiana back to France, then the United States acquired the territory from France. With the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi again ceased to be a border—at least not a border between Euro-American empires and...

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5. Quakes

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pp. 149-185

In the confluence region, the second decade of the nineteenth century began with a series of unsettling natural occurrences. In January 1811, the temperature rose to nearly eighty degrees in St. Louis. The balmy weather persisted for a couple of weeks, before plunging in a matter of days to ten below zero and leaving the Mississippi River frozen from bank to bank. With the spring thaw came a devastating flood...

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6. Closings

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pp. 186-219

In November 1828, John Miller, the second governor of the state of Missouri, defended the government’s policy toward Indians by declaring that “ours is a frontier State.” For Miller, that situation justified the eviction of Indians living within the boundaries of Missouri, a process of ethnic cleansing that was largely carried out during the 1820s. By the definition used in this book...

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pp. 220-243

On September 1, 1838, William Clark died in St. Louis. Hundreds of mourners soon gathered at the home of his son Meriwether Lewis Clark. Thousands poured onto the streets of St. Louis for the funeral procession. “The name of GOVERNOR CLARK must ever occupy a prominent place on the pages of the history of this country,” a Missouri newspaper eulogized.1...


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pp. 245-293


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pp. 295-301

E-ISBN-13: 9780253111432
E-ISBN-10: 0253111439
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253346919

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 14 b&w illus., 6 maps
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier