Historians of borderlands have long recognized the importance of intermarriage and the construction of intercultural kinship ties. By forging connections with Native American and Hispanic women, Anglo-American and French-Canadian traders in Mexico's northern territories acquired access to economic, social, and political influence. Studies of these borderlands unions often emphasize themes of stability and mutual accommodation. Charles Bent's story complicates this narrative. A trader from Missouri who became the first governor of New Mexico after the United States conquered the territory in 1846, Bent turned familial networks to dangerous, disruptive ends. The bonds his family forged in Santa Fe, Taos, and at their trading post along the Arkansas River allowed the merchant and his allies to accumulate power and influence at the expense of Mexican political and economic stability. To oppose these influences, other family networks arose. Charles Bent's tenure as governor was brief, and his death during the Taos Revolt of 1847 is a graphic reminder that family formation in the borderlands sometimes led to conflict and violence rather than cooperation and accommodation.


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pp. 57-80
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