The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion

Paperback | October 26, 2010

byJay Gitlin

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Histories tend to emphasize conquest by Anglo-Americans as the driving force behind the development of the American West. In this fresh interpretation, Jay Gitlin argues that the activities of the French are crucial to understanding the phenomenon of westward expansion.

The Seven Years War brought an end to the French colonial enterprise in North America, but the French in towns such as New Orleans, St. Louis, and Detroit survived the transition to American rule. French traders from Mid-America such as the Chouteaus and Robidouxs of St. Louis then became agents of change in the West, perfecting a strategy of “middle grounding” by pursuing alliances within Indian and Mexican communities in advance of American settlement and re-investing fur trade profits in land, town sites, banks, and transportation. The Bourgeois Frontier provides the missing French connection between the urban Midwest and western expansion.

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Histories tend to emphasize conquest by Anglo-Americans as the driving force behind the development of the American West. In this fresh interpretation, Jay Gitlin argues that the activities of the French are crucial to understanding the phenomenon of westward expansion.The Seven Years War brought an end to the French colonial enterpris...

Jay Gitlin is lecturer, Department of History, Yale University, and associate director of the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:290 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:October 26, 2010Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300168039

ISBN - 13:9780300168037

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“…a remarkable book…an incredibly detailed yet easily digestible narrative…a book that will not easily be dissected, will generate debate, and should help inspire scholarship in this area for some time to come.”—Robert Englebert, Social History