Catalogue

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Valley of opportunity : economic culture along the Upper Susquehanna, 1700-1800 /
Peter C. Mancall.
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1991.
description
xviii, 253 p. : maps.
ISBN
0801425034 (cloth : alkaline paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1991.
isbn
0801425034 (cloth : alkaline paper)
catalogue key
2095765
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-02:
Mancall (University of Kansas) has produced here the type of study of which more are likely to be seen in the next few years. The author examines, primarily in the 18th century, the valley of Susquehanna River and its tributaries, a small but very important region lying partly in eastern Pennsylvania and partly in eastern New York. Mancall displays the kind of approach that is in vogue by treating Indians and Europeans as actors of equal importance in the early economic development of the Susquehanna. He uses insights from anthropology, economics, ecology, and geography, as well as other disciplines, to reveal not only the economic but the environmental consequences of change initiated by both Indians and whites. This work offers readers a chance to better understand not only 18th-century historical change in New York and Pennsylvania, but 19th-century change there and elsewhere in America. Includes maps. Recommended for upper-division and graduate collections.-E. D. Odom, University of North Texas
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Mancall merits commendation for his attention to ecological as well as economic revolutions, his incorporation of Indians into the transition question, and his reminder that conquest left a continental legacy."-Western Historical Quarterly
"Mancall's central argument is that the 'economic culture' of the backcountry was shaped by a complex interaction of physical environ- ments, local societies, and powerful developers-an encounter decided on the terms of the latter group, the agents of the greater Atlantic economy. Mancall's is a sober and sobering thesis, underscoring the power of capital on the eighteenth-century frontier."-William and Mary Quarterly
"Mancall shows how valley residents tied themselves into the commercial network that linked North America to Europe. Some people prospered in this valley of opportunity, many did not, and their fates often were determined less by their own endeavors than by the forces of the Atlantic economy that reached into their world."-Ethnohistory
"Valley of Opportunity is an important book. Like the region it analyzes, it moves across boundaries, providing new vistas while connecting arbitrarily divided terrains."-Journal of American History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 1992
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Summaries
Main Description
Valley of Opportunity recreates an age when Indians, colonists, and post-Revolutionary settlers embraced a similar dream: to create a successful economy in the rural hinterland of the middle colonies. Peter C. Mancall draws on abundant evidence from seldom-used archives in the region, as well as from libraries on both sides of the Atlantic, to reconstruct their daily economic life. The author describes the varied economic transformations that took place in the area, considering these changes from an environmental as well as an economic standpoint. He shows how different groups of people perceived the resources of the region and how their perceptions shaped settlement patterns, land use, and the formation of commercial networks. Ultimately, each of the three peoples looked beyond the mountains that set the boundaries of their physical world and tried to establish ties to the larger commercial network that linked North America to Europe. Mancall offers connections between the development of a particular region, previously overlooked by most historians, and the wide pattern of American economic change. He breaks through old ethnocentric barriers of settlement history by portraying Indian people in their full diversity and by including Indians and whites as actors of comparable significance, and he shows how attitudes that developed in the colonial period affected economic patterns well beyond the Revolution. Integrating a range of disciplines, from anthropology through ecology and geography to zoology, he seeks to answer the questions: what did different groups of people make of the natural resources of this river valley and how did they allocate the rewards? His answers provide a novel overview of the economic culture of the eighteenth century. Studded with sharp insights and attention-catching quotations that mirror everyday life of the times, Valley of Opportunity will appeal to those interested in the development of the American economy, the impact of the Revolution on urban Americans, and the relations between the peoples who together created a vibrant world along the edges of European settlement in North America.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. xi
Notes on the Textp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
The Physical Worldp. 11
The Susquehanna Indiansp. 27
Indian-Colonist Tradep. 47
The Collapse of Intercultural Tradep. 71
The Colonists' Economyp. 95
The War in the Valleyp. 130
Postwar Economic Developmentp. 160
Conclusion: The Economic Culture of the Revolutionary Backcountryp. 217
Appendixp. 239
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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