On Sunday, June 24, Readex will host a special breakfast presentation titled “When Indians and Americans Got Along: An Alternative History of the Louisiana Territory.” An open discussion will follow the talk by Stephen Aron, professor of history and Robert N. Burr Chair at the University of California, Los Angeles.
About the Presentation
In this enlightening talk, Prof. Aron—a leading authority on the American frontier—disputes textbook histories that treat the ejection of Indians from their lands as inevitable and relations between native peoples and American pioneers as unremittingly hostile. Aron’s spirited presentation uncovers an alternative history in which some Indian and American migrants to Spanish Louisiana, including most famously Daniel Boone, overcame their enmities and cordially cohabited.
Drawing on Spanish colonial records and the Territorial Papers of the United States, Aron explores how former enemies found common ground in the 1790s and how generally friendly interactions continued after the Louisiana Purchase transferred the territory to the United States. But in the decade after the War of 1812, he explains, amicable relations gave way to pressure from a new group of settlers and to the demands of “American democracy.” These changes challenged the authority of territorial officials like William Clark and paved the trail for Indian removals to and through the Louisiana Territory.
Highlighted below are four newly added items in the major new enrichment to the Evans and Shaw-Shoemaker collections. These diverse works, now available for the first time in Readex digital editions of Early American Imprints, are from the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society.
The Evans Supplement includes Daniel Boone’s autobiographical account of his early adventures in what was even then called Kentucky, and John Wesley’s reflections on the history of slavery to which he was opposed. The Shaw-Shoemaker Supplement includes Benjamin Franklin’s whimsical rebus for children, advising them to be thrifty, and a captivating cookbook by “an American orphan.”
Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon, one of the original settlers of Kentucky: containing the wars with the Indians on the Ohio, from 1769 to the present time, and the first establishment and progress of the settlements on that river. Written by the colonel himself (1793)
Many Americans grew up thinking of Daniel Boone as one of the first rough-and-ready frontiersmen who discovered the easiest route through the mountains separating modern-day Virginia from Kentucky. It is surprising then to read this account and to appreciate the quality of his writing and the sensitivity of some of his observations. In a description of “a pleasing ramble” with a friend he writes: