Academic journal article American Studies

A COLONY SPRUNG FROM HELL: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1774-1794

Academic journal article American Studies

A COLONY SPRUNG FROM HELL: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1774-1794

Article excerpt

A COLONY SPRUNG FROM HELL: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1774-1794. By Daniel P. Barr. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. 2014.

The western periphery of British colonial America offered the opportunity for wealth and eventual gentrification to those resourceful individuals who successfully overcame the challenges of frontier development. The key to that success lay in physical, economic, and political control of the land, and these, in turn, relied on government that supported local interests. Regional acceptance of and allegiance to imperial, colonial, or national governments rested on that government's ability and willingness to support the safety and prosperity of the locality. In A Colony Sprung from Hell, author Daniel P. Barr offers an enlightening example of the contentiousness of political authority at the Forks of the Ohio River, concluding that the fundamental question of political sovereignty within the region ultimately defined the nature of power itself on the American frontier.

Throughout this study Professor Barr characterizes the competition for land rights, war and violence, and the inability of governments to establish stable institutions of power as keys to understanding this contest for political control. Identifying three separate phases in the struggle for political dominion, he divides his narrative chronologically. In Part I, "Competition," he considers the role of land speculators and expansionists as the colonial governments of Pennsylvania and Virginia competed for political control, with neither able to establish legitimacy. Part II, "Regulation," discusses the British government's failure to establish effective authority in the West after the Seven Years War, Pontiac's Rebellion, or Dunmore's War. Devastated by attacks during these wars, settlers developed a fierce hatred and fear of Indians, while at the same time learning to distrust distant authorities who seemed unable or unwilling to protect their lives and property. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.