Missouri, the Heart of the Nation

Missouri, the Heart of the Nation

Missouri, the Heart of the Nation

Missouri, the Heart of the Nation


Combining a chronological overview with topical development, this team of esteemed authors presents in engaging detail the rich and varied history of Missouri, a state that has played a pivotal role in the history of the nation, from the pre-Columbian period to the present.

In a clear, engaging style that all students of Missouri history are certain to enjoy, the authors explore such subjects as Missouri's Indian peoples, French and Spanish settlement, slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, politics from territorial days to the present, cultural as well as industrial development, both world wars, historical and recent demographics, and the difficult choices that Missourians faces regarding the economy, the environment, and education as the twenty-first century unfolds.

Featuring an entirely new chapter as well as new maps, photographs, newly revised Suggestions for Further Reading, and a comprehensive index, this latest edition of our popular survey text-available in paperback as well as hardcover-will continue to enlighten and engage all those who call Missouri home.


The history of Missouri is rich and varied. The state stands at the crossroads of America in "the Heart of the Nation." It has played a pivotal role in much of the nation's history, most particularly in the development of the American West. The writers have been concerned to present the story of Missouri and its people in a clear and concise manner. It is a panorama of the interaction of political, economic, and social activity. From earliest times to the present, the history of the state has been a story of people and their attempts to relate to their environment and changing circumstances. The writers hope that they have captured herein the full impact of those people and the forces that have shaped Missouri into the state it is today.

What we have tried to provide here is an overview arranged generally in chronological sequence but with topical development. It is impossible to go into numerous details in a book of this sort. For those who wish to pursue various aspects of Missouri history further, the writers have provided Suggestions for Reading at the end of each chapter. These have been revised in this edition to include the wealth of works that have appeared in the past decade. Missouri's past is indeed a rich gold mine for historians, and it is good to see the digging that is currently occurring. The most thorough account of the state's development remains David D. March, The History of Missouri, 4 vols., Chicago, Lewis Publishing Co., 1967, even though it is somewhat dated. It should be supplemented by the Sesquicentennial His tory of Missouri series in 5 volumes, Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1971–1997 (revised editions of Vols. I–III, 1999–2001), of which William E. Parrish is General Editor. These cover the state's history from its beginnings to 1953 and contain extensive bibliographies beyond what we can furnish here. A sixth volume bringing the story to the present is in preparation. These volumes are cited in the Suggestions for Readings as appropriate. Milton D. Raffery, Historical Atlas of Missouri, Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1982, offers illustrative maps of considerable use. Another important work dealing with a particular group is Lorenzo J. Greene, Gary R. Kremer . . .

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