“The people who lived in what became the seventeenth state in the American Union in 1803 were not only at the center of a great empire, they were at the center of the most important historical developments in the revolutionary Atlantic World.”
—From the introduction
Nowhere did the revolutions in politics, commerce, and society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries occur more quickly or more thoroughly than in the Ohio country. A forested borderland dominated by American Indians in 1780, Ohio was a landscape of farms and towns inhabited by people from all over the world by 1830. The Center of a Great Empire: The Ohio Country in the Early Republic chronicles this dramatic and all-encompassing change.
Andrew R. L. Cayton and Stuart D. Hobbs have assembled an impressive collection of articles by established and rising scholars. They address the conquest of Native Americans, the emergence of a democratic political culture, the origins of capitalism, the formation of public culture, the growth of evangelical Protestantism, the ambiguous status of African Americans, and social life in a place that most regarded as the cutting edge of human history.
For The Center of a Great Empire, distinguished historians of the American nation in its first decades question conventional wisdom. They emphasize contingency rather than inevitability and contention rather than progress. Downplaying the frontier character of Ohio, they offer new interpretations and open new paths of inquiry through investigations of race, education, politics, religion, family, commerce, colonialism, and conquest. As it underscores key themes in the history of the United States, The Center of a Great Empire pursues issues that have fascinated people for two centuries.