The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania

By Solon J. Buck; Elizabeth Hawthorn Buck et al. | Go to book overview

XII. Frontier Economy

THE economy that could be introduced into and developed in western Pennsylvania in the last third of the eighteenth century was dependent in the first place upon the cultural heritage of the settlers--their knowledge and beliefs based on experience and tradition, as well as the scientific and technological equipment that was available to them. In the second place it was conditioned by the frontier status of the region--the fact that that region was in process of being occupied. And further it was restricted by the physical characteristics of the region and especially by its comparative isolation from the older settlements.

The motivating force back of the immigration into western Pennsylvania was predominantly economic. Some there were, especially among the first settlers, who were drawn by a love of adventure or of solitude or by a desire to escape the consequences of past conduct, but the great majority of the pioneers sought the opportunity to improve their economic status. This they expected to do by acquiring land and developing it into improved farms, which would provide old- age security for themselves and something to hand down to their children. It was not that they expected to make a better living, at least for some years to come, than they could in the East; but rather that they hoped to be able, while supporting themselves and their families, to acquire and create capital goods in the form of improved land, farm buildings, livestock, and equipment. Ultimately, of course, the durable wealth created by the pioneer would result in improved standards of living, at least for his children. The land in its wilderness state had comparatively little economic value; not until it was transformed into farms by the labors of the pioneers did it become productive capital; and it is probable that, during the frontier period, at least as much human energy was devoted to the creation of capital in

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The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • I. the Natural Environment 1
  • Ii. the Indian Regime 19
  • Iii. Forerunners of White Occupation 46
  • Iv. the French Occupation 67
  • V. the Indian Reservation 96
  • Vi. the Cultural Heritage of the Pioneers 115
  • Vii. the Coming of the Settlers 135
  • Viii. the Establishment of Political Boundaries 156
  • Ix. the Revolution and Indian Relations, 1774-95 175
  • X. the Expansion of Settlement 1790-1820 204
  • Xi. the Development of Transportation 229
  • Xii. Frontier Economy 261
  • Xiii. Commercial and Industrial Foundations 288
  • Xiv. Domestic Life 318
  • Xv. Community Life 349
  • Xvi. Intellectual Life 372
  • Xvii. Religion 401
  • Xviii. Local Government and Community Control 430
  • Xix. Frontier Radicalism and Rebellion 454
  • Xx. Jeffersonian Democracy 474
  • Xxi. the Pattern of Culture 488
  • Bibliographical Essay 493
  • Index 539
  • Maps 557
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