The Early United States in a Transnational Perspective
Barbara Buchenau – Empire – Nation – Urbanity: Renewing Scripts and Frames in the Old Northwest
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Empire – Nation – Urbanity: Renewing Scripts and Frames in the Old Northwest
The Revolutionary Era (1754–1812) has been productively studied in terms of a broad conceptual shift from empire to nation, from monarchy to republic (Anderson xvi–xix; Boyer et al. 166–67). Seen from the borderlands of the Old Northwest, home of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, “the most powerful Indian confederation in eastern North America” (Preston 12), these conceptual shifts take on slightly different meanings, as historians such as Alan Taylor have noted (e.g. 10; 142–66). Putting together research from the disparate fields of Iroquoian, U.S. American, and Canadian history brings numerous continuities and variations into view, which do not sit easily with the many ruptures of the Revolutionary Era (Preston 292–93; Weaver 166–73; Miller 93–100). This paper is particularly interested in the intricate ways the Old Northwest took part in transatlantic negotiations of future constellations of power and authority on the continent. It presents a close reading of an apparently wayward German snapshot of revolutionary Iroquoia, the home of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Cayugas, and Seneca tribes located in the area to the west of the Lake Champlain/Hudson River corridor and east of Detroit. Taken from the transatlantic eighteenth-century news culture, this snapshot can be productively read in the context of North American standardizations of Iroquoian political leaders as New World Romans. It allows us to consider the pivotal role played by Iroquoian North America in a...
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