From Furs to Farms: The Transformation of the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1825 (Hardback)
  • From Furs to Farms: The Transformation of the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1825 (Hardback)

From Furs to Farms: The Transformation of the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1825 (Hardback)

Hardback 212 Pages / Published: 09/09/2016
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This original study tells the story of the Illinois Country, a collection of French villages that straddled the Mississippi River for nearly a century before it was divided by the treaties that ended the Seven Years' War in the early 1760s. Spain acquired the territory on the west side of the river and Great Britain the territory on the east. After the 1783 Treaty of Paris and the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the entire region was controlled by the United States, and the white inhabitants were transformed from subjects to citizens. By 1825, Indian claims to the land that had become the states of Illinois and Missouri were nearly all extinguished, and most of the Indians had moved west.

John Reda focuses on the people behind the Illinois Country's transformation from a society based on the fur trade between Europeans, Indians, and mixed-race (m tis) peoples to one based on the commodification of land and the development of commercial agriculture. Many of these people were white and became active participants in the development of local, state, and federal governmental institutions. But many were Indian or m tis people who lost both their lands and livelihoods, or black people who arrived--and remained--in bondage.

In From Furs to Farms, Reda rewrites early national American history to include the specific people and places that make the period far more complex and compelling than what is depicted in the standard narrative. This fascinating work will interest historians, students, and general readers of US history and Midwestern studies.

Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
ISBN: 9780875804996
Number of pages: 212
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm

"Reda offers a new perspective on the history of the Illinois Country, which deserves a wide readership of those interested in the scholarship of the Midwest and the North American frontier."
--Journal of Illinois History

"John Reda's From Furs to Farms: The Transformation of the Mississippi Valley, 1762-1825 addresses many issues that historians have identified as critical in the 'new' history of American western expansion and development. He does so persuasively, with exceptional elegance in prose and an impressive talent for narrative compression."
--American Historical Review

"[This] succinct and pointed history of the white settlement of the Mississippi Valley challenges the oversimplified and convenient notion of Manifest Destiny. . . . Like the work of all diligent, mindful scholars, Reda's account of the history is complex."
--Foreword Reviews

"By spotlighting the local and by looking beyond the boundaries that are to the boundaries that were, From Furs to Farms offers a worthy model for future studies of early American places."
--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"This volume sheds important new interpretive light on an often-underappreciated layer of US history. Highly recommended."

"Reda provides a welcome, readable account of the formative years of Missouri and Illinois. While emphasizing the place of economics in their formation, he also restores the Mississippi River to its historical role as a short fence between close neighbors, rather than an impermeable barrier."
--Robert M. Owens, author of Red Dreams, White Nightmares: Pan-Indian Alliances in the Anglo-American Mind, 1763-1815

"John Reda's careful narrative is an important contribution to the history of the Early Republic. Astutely emphasizing personal security, property rights, and white supremacy, Reda forcefully argues that the successful incorporation of the Illinois Country's inhabitants into the new nation was part of a larger displacement of the fur trade by commercial agriculture."
--Andrew Cayton, The Ohio State University

"From Furs to Farms is a significant and original contribution to the study of the history of the upper Mississippi Valley. Reda's scholarship is sound."
--Walter Nugent, author of Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion

"Reda's work reminds us that the histories of Missouri and Illinois remained intertwined into the nineteenth century as the region moved from an economy dependent on furs to one based in land as real estate. In Reda's capable hands, the Mississippi River emerges as an 'international crossroads, ' not an international border."
--Ann Durkin Keating, North Central College

"Reda's book has much to recommend it. He admirably untangles the political machinations of francophone elites and American officials as they navigated the aftermath of the Louisiana Purchase and negotiated the fate of Spanish land grants."
--Missouri Historical Review

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