The standard story of St. Louis's founding tells of fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau hacking a city out of wilderness. St. Louis Rising overturns such gauzy myths with the contrarian thesis that French government officials and institutions shaped and structured early city society. Of the former, none did more than Louis St. Ange de Bellerive. His commitment to the Bourbon monarchy and to civil tranquility made him the prime mover as St. Louis emerged during the tumult following the French and Indian War.
Drawing on new source materials, the authors delve into the complexities of politics, Indian affairs, slavery, and material culture that defined the city's founding period. Their alternative version of the oft-told tale uncovers the imperial realities--as personified by St. Ange--that truly governed in the Illinois Country of the time, and provide a trove of new information on everything from the fur trade to the arrival of the British and Spanish after the Seven Years' War.