REVIEWS � 377 “frontier” is even more surprising since historians have continually chal- lenged and redeﬁned the meaning of that term, most recently with Pat- rick Spero’s Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 2018). Finally, the word “frontier” has an undeniably long and sordid history since Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis” in 1893, and as James H. Merrell reminds us, this word “rehearse[s] the tried and false,” is part of “a lexicon crafted by the victors in the contest for America,” and replicates “European structures of thought” in the writing of American history. But Catton has little to say about any of this, and that is troubling. Catton’s book remains an engrossing, intimate look at a place where Native, European, and Euro American peoples created a web of mutual dependency that deﬁned many states and societies in the early nineteenth century. Absent a more critical look at the framing concept of frontier, however, readers will have to look elsewhere—such as Lawrence Hatter’s Citizens of Convenience: The Imperial Origins of American Nationhood on the U.S.–Canadian Border (Charlottesville, VA, 2016)—to understand how this compelling study of the collaboration and conﬂicts of people like Tanner, McLoughlin, and Long
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: May 21, 2019
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