Native Americans and the Early Republic

By O'brien, Greg | The Journal of Southern History, August 2001 | Go to article overview
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Native Americans and the Early Republic


O'brien, Greg, The Journal of Southern History


Native Americans and the Early Republic. Edited by Frederick E. Hoxie, Ronald Hoffman, and Peter J. Albert. Perspectives on the American Revolution. (Charlottesville and London: Published by the University Press of Virginia for the United States Capitol Historical Society, c. 1999. Pp. xiv, 370. $49.50, ISBN 0-8139-1873-1.)

This volume of eleven essays concludes the valuable Perspectives on the American Revolution series by the Capitol Historical Society. That American Indians appear as the last topic of the series is both a sign of the continuing marginalization of Indian peoples in mainstream American historical discourse as well as a reflection of the outpouring of scholarly work on Indians by ethnohistorians and other scholars of the "New Indian History" within the past two decades. Although many scholars, including several of the contributors to this volume, have demonstrated that one cannot understand the early republic without including Native Americans, there is still a tendency within the profession to treat Indians as a separate subject somehow outside of the rest of early American history. While the structure of this collection follows that basic outline, the papers themselves make the case for including Indians in any consideration of the nation's beginnings.

Few stones were left unturned in selecting those authors who had the greatest impact on early American Indian scholarship during the past two decades. The list of contributors reads like a who's who of academics in early American Indian history. Colin Calloway opens the volume with a summary of the American Revolution's impact on native people. Reginald Horsman tackles familiar ground in exploring early American Indian policy. Richard White creatively analyzes "the fictions of patriarchy" within United States-Indian relations. Theda Perdue asks us to consider the role of gender in order to understand why Euro-Americans characterized native people the way that they did and how "New World realities" differed markedly from those perceptions.

Daniel K. Richter traces interactions between Pennsylvanians and the Allegheny Senecas in the decade after the Revolutionary War and demonstrates how Pennsylvanians prevented the growth of peaceful relations between the two cultures.

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