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A Colony Sprung from Hell

Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744-1794

The early settlement of the region around Pittsburgh was characterized by a messy collision of personal, provincial, national, and imperial interests. Driven by the efforts of Europeans, Pennsylvanians, Virginians, and Indians, almost everyone attempted to manipulate the clouded political jurisdiction of the region. A Colony Sprung from Hell traces this complex struggle. The events and episodes that make up the story highlight the difficulties of creating and consolidating authority along the frontier, where the local population’s acceptance or denial of authority determined the extent to which any government could impose its will. Ultimately, what was at stake was the nature of authority itself.

Author Daniel P. Barr demonstrates that deep divisions marked efforts to exercise power over the western Pennsylvania frontier and limited the effectiveness of such attempts. They developed roughly along provincial lines, owing to a fierce competition between Pennsylvania and Virginia to incorporate the region into their colonies. This jurisdictional dispute permeated many social and political levels, impacting all those who sought power and influence along the western Pennsylvania frontier. Individuals, businesses, provincial governments, and British policymakers competed for jurisdiction in the political and legal arenas, while migrants, settlers, and Indians opposed one another on the ground in a contest that was far more confrontational and violent. Although the participants and the nature of the conflict changed over time, the fundamental question—who was going to make the important decisions regarding the region—remained unsettled and unanswered, resulting in a consistent pattern of discord and contention.

A Colony Sprung from Hell is an important contribution to the understanding of power and authority along the late colonial frontier.

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Commerce by a Frozen Sea

Native Americans and the European Fur Trade

By Ann M. Carlos and Frank D. Lewis

Commerce by a Frozen Sea is a cross-cultural study of a century of contact between North American native peoples and Europeans. During the eighteenth century, the natives of the Hudson Bay lowlands and their European trading partners were brought together by an increasingly popular trade in furs, destined for the hat and fur markets of Europe. Native Americans were the sole trappers of furs, which they traded to English and French merchants. The trade gave Native Americans access to new European technologies that were integrated into Indian lifeways. What emerges from this detailed exploration is a story of two equal partners involved in a mutually beneficial trade.

Drawing on more than seventy years of trade records from the archives of the Hudson's Bay Company, economic historians Ann M. Carlos and Frank D. Lewis critique and confront many of the myths commonly held about the nature and impact of commercial trade. Extensively documented are the ways in which natives transformed the trading environment and determined the range of goods offered to them. Natives were effective bargainers who demanded practical items such as firearms, kettles, and blankets as well as luxuries like cloth, jewelry, and tobacco—goods similar to those purchased by Europeans. Surprisingly little alcohol was traded. Indeed, Commerce by a Frozen Sea shows that natives were industrious people who achieved a standard of living above that of most workers in Europe. Although they later fell behind, the eighteenth century was, for Native Americans, a golden age.

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Community without Consent

New Perspectives on the Stamp Act

Zachary McLeod Hutchins

The first book-length study of the Stamp Act in decades, this timely collection draws together essays from a broad range of disciplines to provide a thoroughly original investigation of the influence of 1760s British tax legislation on colonial culture, and vice versa. While earlier scholarship has largely focused on the political origins and legacy of the Stamp Act, this volume illuminates the social and cultural impact of a legislative crisis that would end in revolution. Importantly, these essays problematize the traditional nationalist narrative of Stamp Act scholarship, offering a variety of counter identities and perspectives. Community without Consent recovers the stories of individuals often ignored or overlooked in existing scholarship, including women, Native Americans, and enslaved African Americans, by drawing on sources unavailable to or unexamined by earlier researchers.

This urgent and original collection will appeal to the broadest of interdisciplinary audiences.

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The Contagious City

The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia

by Simon Finger

By the time William Penn was planning the colony that would come to be called Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia at its heart, Europeans on both sides of the ocean had long experience with the hazards of city life, disease the most terrifying among them. Drawing from those experiences, colonists hoped to create new urban forms that combined the commercial advantages of a seaport with the health benefits of the country. The Contagious City details how early Americans struggled to preserve their collective health against both the strange new perils of the colonial environment and the familiar dangers of the traditional city, through a period of profound transformation in both politics and medicine.

Philadelphia was the paramount example of this reforming tendency. Tracing the city's history from its founding on the banks of the Delaware River in 1682 to the yellow fever outbreak of 1793, Simon Finger emphasizes the importance of public health and population control in decisions made by the city's planners and leaders. He also shows that key figures in the city's history, including Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush, brought their keen interest in science and medicine into the political sphere. Throughout his account, Finger makes clear that medicine and politics were inextricably linked, and that both undergirded the debates over such crucial concerns as the city's location, its urban plan, its immigration policy, and its creation of institutions of public safety. In framing the history of Philadelphia through the imperatives of public health, The Contagious City offers a bold new vision of the urban history of colonial America.

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Contesting Slavery

The Politics of Bondage and Freedom in the New American Nation

The fifteen original essays in this collection examine the politics of slavery and antislavery in the traditionally overlooked period between the 1770s and the 1840s, challenging the standard narrative in which slavery played a peripheral role in regional and national politics.

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Crèvecoeur's Eighteenth-Century Travels in Pennsylvania and New York

Percy G. Adams

Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecouer, long regarded as a chief figure in American letters of the Revolutionary period, is remembered as the author of Letters from an American Farmer and the posthumous Sketches of Eighteenth Century of America, but his last and most ambitious work has been almost entirely neglected. Published in France as Le Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie et dans d'état de New York, Crèvecouer's last book was never popular and has not heretofore appeared in English. Yet the Voyage has much to add to Crèvecouer's picture of eighteenth-century America, and to our own picture of the American Farmer as a man and writer. The Voyage, written after Crèvecouer's sojourn in France and his return to America as French consul, records a new phase both in American history and in the author's life.

Adams has arrived at a selection of extracts from Voyage which will be of interest to Crèvecouer's many admirers among students of American history and literature. The editor has translated, arranged, and annotated these selections to form a collection will be a fit companion for Crèvecouer's two volumes of English essays and will supplement the earlier books by recording Crèvecouer's final view of the American scene. In his introduction to this collection, Adams presents a thorough analysis of the content and significance of the Voyage and convincingly justifies his contention that, though the work contains much that is not worthy of translation or republication, the selection here published for the first time in English may be regarded as a significant addition to Crèvecouer's writings.

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Creating the British Atlantic

Essays on Transplantation, Adaptation, and Continuity

Jack P. Greene

Set mostly within an expansive British imperial and transatlantic framework, this new selection of writings from the renowned historian Jack P. Greene draws on themes he has been developing throughout his distinguished career. In these essays Greene explores the efforts to impose Old World institutions, identities, and values upon the New World societies being created during the colonization process. He shows how transplanted Old World components—political, legal, and social—were adapted to meet the demands of new, economically viable, expansive cultural hearths. Greene argues that these transplantations and adaptations were of fundamental importance in the formation and evolution of the new American republic and the society it represented.

The scope of this work allows Greene to consider in depth numerous subjects, including the dynamics of colonization, the development and character of provincial identities, the relationship between new settler societies in America and the emerging British Empire, and the role of cultural power in social and political formation.

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Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas

Empires, Texts, Identities

Ralph Bauer

Creolization describes the cultural adaptations that occur when a community moves to a new geographic setting. Exploring the consciousness of peoples defined as "creoles" who moved from the Old World to the New World, this collection of eighteen original essays investigates the creolization of literary forms and genres in the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas facilitates a cross-disciplinary, intrahemispheric, and Atlantic comparison of early settlers' colonialism and creole elites' relation to both indigenous peoples and imperial regimes. Contributors explore literatures written in Spanish, Portuguese, and English to identify creole responses to such concepts as communal identity, local patriotism, nationalism, and literary expression.

The essays take the reader from the first debates about cultural differences that underpinned European ideologies of conquest to the transposition of European literary tastes into New World cultural contexts, and from the natural science discourse concerning creolization to the literary manifestations of creole patriotism. The volume includes an addendum of etymological terms and critical bibliographic commentary.

Ralph Bauer, University of Maryland
Raquel Chang-Rodriguez, City University of New York
Lucia Helena Costigan, Ohio State University
Jim Egan, Brown University
Sandra M. Gustafson, University of Notre Dame
Carlos Jauregui, Vanderbilt University
Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel, University of Pennsylvania
Jose Antonio Mazzotti, Tufts University
Stephanie Merrim, Brown University
Susan Scott Parrish, University of Michigan
Luis Fernando Restrepo, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Jeffrey H. Richards, Old Dominion University
Kathleen Ross, New York University
David S. Shields, University of South Carolina
Teresa A. Toulouse, Tulane University
Lisa Voigt, University of Chicago
Jerry M. Williams, West Chester University

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Crossing the Sound

The Rise of Atlantic American Communities in Seventeenth-Century Eastern Long Island

Faren Siminoff

In seventeenth-century North America, communities on eastern Long Island were an integral part of the tumultuous and dynamic New England region and the larger Atlantic American world. They were created and modified by ideas and traditions that were inherent to life in Atlantic America and were not simply imported from Europe or established solely by settlers and imposed on native peoples.

In Crossing the Sound Faren R. Siminoff skillfully weaves new data with sophisticated theoretical analysis to demonstrate that the development of eastern Long Island was based more on complex interactions between settlers and native peoples than on clashes between the two groups. English and Dutch colonists did not merely transport traditional systems of land ownership, political organizations, and control of economic resources to the Northeast. Rather, both settlers and natives underwent a process of negotiation, resulting in a hybrid society that adapted and reworked new and old patterns of life, highlighting the lasting influence of native communities on the emerging American identity.

This compelling case study adds new layers to the history of the Atlantic world: it becomes a story without a dominant voice or community at its core, demonstrating that neither monolithic groups nor static interests prevailed in the region. Crossing the Sound offers a fresh interpretation of colonial relationships tracing social, cultural, and political exchanges between groups.

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Cultivating a Past

Essays on the History of Hadley, Massachusetts

edited by Marla R. Miller

In 1659, a group of Puritan dissenters made their way north from Hartford and Wethersfield, Connecticut, to a crook in the Connecticut River that cut through some of the most fertile land in New England. Three hundred and fifty years later, a group of distinguished scholars mark the founding of that town— Hadley, Massachusetts—with a book that explores a history as rich as that soil. Edited with an introduction by Marla R. Miller, Cultivating a Past brings together fifteen essays, some previously published and others new, that tell the story of Hadley from a variety of disciplinary vantage points. Archaeologists Elizabeth Chilton, Siobhan Hart, Christopher Donta, Edward Hood, and Rita Reinke investigate relations between Native and European communities, while historians Gregory Nobles, Alice Nash, and Pulitzer Prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explore the social, cultural, and political past of this New England town. Musicologist Andrea Olmstead surveys the career of composer Roger Sessions, costume specialist Lynne Bassett interprets the wardrobes of the town’s seventeenth-century residents, Douglas Wilson investigates the connection between Hadley and the regicides William Goffe and Edward Whalley, and Martin Antonetti charts the course of a 1599 Bible alleged to have belonged Goffe. Taken together, the essays capture how men and women in this small community responded to the same challenges that have faced other New Englanders from the seventeenth century to the present. They also reveal how the town’s historical sense of itself evolved along the way, as stories of the alleged “Angel of Hadley,” of favorite sons Joseph Hooker and Clarence Hawkes, and of daughters Mary Webster and Elizabeth Porter Phelps contributed to a civic identity that celebrates strength of character.

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