In this beautifully written book, prize-winning historian Christina Snyder reinterprets the history of Jacksonian America. Usually, this drama focuses on whites who turned west to conquer a continent, extending liberty as they went. Great Crossings features Indians from across the continentseeking new ways to assert anciently-held rights, and people of African descent who challenged the United States to live up to its ideals. These diverse groups met in an experimental community in central Kentucky called Great Crossings, home to the first federal Indian school and a famousinterracial family. Great Crossings embodied monumental changes then transforming North America. The United States, within the span of a few decades, grew from an East Coast nation to a continental empire. The territorial growth of the United States forged a multicultural, multiracial society, but that diversity alsosparked fierce debates over race, citizenship, and America's destiny. Great Crossings, a place of race-mixing and cultural exchange, emerged as a battleground. Its history allows an intimate view of the ambitions and struggles of Indians, settlers, and slaves who were trying to secure their place ina changing world. Through deep research and compelling prose, Snyder introduces us to a diverse range of historical actors: Richard Mentor Johnson, the politician who reportedly killed Tecumseh and then became schoolmaster to the sons of his former foes; Julia Chinn, Johnson's enslaved lover, whofought for her children's freedom; Peter Pitchlynn, a Choctaw intellectual who, even in the darkest days of Indian removal, argued for the future of Indian nations. Together, their stories demonstrate how that era transformed colonizers and the colonized alike, sowing the seeds of modernAmerica.