1008 The Journal of American History March 2018 From Furs to Farms: The Transformation of the es that transformed the region from one with Mississippi Valley, 1762–1825. By John Reda. significant interethnic economic and political (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, cooperation to states that privilege a white, 2016. xviii, 201 pp. $38.00.) English-speaking agricultural citizenry. That change is assumed without clear evidence oth - In From Furs to Farm John Reda refocuses er than increased white settlement. Works by the usual eastern gaze that dominates h - isto Lucy Eldersveld Murphy ( Great Lakes Creoles, ries of this era on the populated Illinoi- s coun 2014) and Bethel Saler The S(ettlers’ Empire, try. The region, over which flew the flags of 2014) on the transition of Wisconsin territo - France, Spain, Britain, and the United States ry to statehood have documented the details across sixty tumultuous years, also playe - d sig of these shifts—for example, territorial court nificant roles in the wars of the era. Further, prosecutions under marriage laws to enforce territory that became the states of Illinois and ethnic identity. Determining whether this shift Missouri is defined by experiences with these also occurred in Indiana Territory would have nation-states, particularly in terms of slavery, added to our understanding of the dev - elop which was allowed in French and Spanish ment of the Old Northwest. territory but abolished under the Northwest Despite these flaws, Reda’s work success - Ordinance, setting the stage for the future of fully sheds more light on the activities of land these states in the upheavals that led to the speculators, who for the most part are not Civil War. This study is a fine example of why farmers themselves. Like William Hogeland’s we cannnot assume that U.S. history starts in Autumn of the Black Snake (2017), Reda’s book 1776, adding to recent works highlighting the shows the extent to which land speculators, Great Lakes region and Mississippi Valley in many of whom sought public office to fur - the early national period. ther their economic interests, drove political Historians of this era are increasingly r - eal and economic change as well as westwar -d mi izing that these stories cannnot be told with - gration. A more comprehensive study of the out recognizing the extent of indigenous and displacement of fur monopolies by land mo - métis presence and cultural impact. While nopolies and the ethnic, social, and economic Reda gives some attention to the importance implications of this transition is needed. of relationships between the settlers of this r - e gion and the Osage, other native nations are Cary Miller skimmed over, lumped together, and assumed University of Manitoba to have little interest in place. The relocation Winnipeg, Canada of eastern Indians to the region is noted but doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax451 not investigated. Further From F , urs to Farms suffers from the general assumption that the The Threshold of Manifest Destiny: Gender only economic activity in the region in 1762 and National Expansion in Florida. By Lau- was fur gathering—ignoring the significant rel Clark Shire. (Philadelphia: University of portion of regional exchange comprising in - Pennsylvania Press, 2016. x, 273 pp. $49.95.) digenous and métis agricultural production, as other scholars such as Daniel H. Usner Jr In- . ( In The Threshold of Manifest Destiny Laurel dians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Clark Shire explores U.S. expansion into F - lor Economy, 1992) and Susan Sleeper-Smith ( In- ida in the early to middle years of the n - ine dian Women and French Men, 2001) have doc - teenth century, examining in particular “the umented. This leaves readers with the misper - central role that gender (masculinity a- nd fem ception that indigenous people were transient ininity as understood through domesticity) and unconcerned with land, and it ignores the role of the Illinois country as the breadbasket and race (particularly through white women) together played in the effort to turn Florida of New Orleans. into an American place” (p. 3). From the o - ut Further, for a professed economic study, From Furs to Farms has little documentation set, Shire asserts that, beginning in the 1830s of the incremental economic and legal chang - in Florida, white women emerged as “ke-y ac Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1008/4932628 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
The Journal of American History – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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