The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Part 2: The Widening Frontier :: Trans-Appalachian Frontier, People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 by Malcolm J. Rohrbough

Note: These questions will be explored in this entire section, not just this introduction.

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The government’s impact on families, communities, and businesses west of the mountains had far exceeded issues of relations with Indian peoples, significant as those were.”
  • “This portion of the story opens on a world of a vast open and varied landscape; it closes on the increasing presence on the land of numbers of small settlements that represented the harbingers of American presence.”
  • “Yet over the next decade, the influence of the federal government intruded into a wide range of areas that no one (least of all the Jeffersonians) could have anticipated at the turn of the century.”
  • “As the influence of the federal government moved well beyond the issues of the Northwest and Land Ordinances, a curious contradiction emerged.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways did the trans-Appalachian frontier “widen” in the period from 1795 to 1815?
  • Compare and Contrast: Northern population growth and Southern population growth in the trans-Appalachian frontier in this period
  • What was the defining characteristic(s) that separated northern and southern trans-Appalachia?
  • Describe the trans-Appalachian river system and the role it played in migration and American development
  • Affirm or Refute: “This portion of the story opens on a world of a vast open and varied landscape; it closes on the increasing presence on the land of numbers of small settlements that represented the harbingers of American presence.”
  • Describe the process of expanding federal powers in the territories
  • What influenced the Federal government when deciding to be either a “mediator” or an “advocate” in state / territory – tribal relationships?
  • Describe the provisions, impact and unintended consequences of the Northwest Ordinance, The Southwest Ordinance and the Land Ordinance of 1784 and 1785

The Indiana Terrtory

  • In what ways did international affairs impact trans-Appalachian development?
  • Who was General Anthony Wayne? Describe the Northwest Indian War and the significance of the Battle of Fallen Timbers
  • Who was John Jay? Describe the Jay Treaty and the role he played in the settlement of the trans-Appalachian frontier
  • Who was Thomas Pinkney? Describe the Pinckney’s Treaty / Treaty of San Lorenzo and the role Pinkney played in the settlement of the trans-Appalachian frontier
  • Explain and Expand: “This confrontation over land began with words and by the end of the decade had moved to violence.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Native American tribes of the Northwest and Southwest territories
  • Who was William Henry Harrison?
  • Describe the evolution of the area of the Indiana Territory from 1795-1815
  • Describe the Haitian Revolution?
  • In what ways did the Haitian Revolution impact the trans-Appalachian frontier?
  • How did the immediate presence of slavery impact the characteristics of southern trans-Appalachia?
  • How did the lack of an immediate presence of slavery impact the characteristics of northern trans-Appalachia?
  • What were the advances in transportation and communication that continued to fuel trans-Appalachian migration?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

American Frontier

The Trans-Appalachian Frontier :: Chapter 3: Security and Stability in the Territory Northwest of the Ohio

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “neither did he care from whom they came, for he was determined to hold his possession.” The reporting officer continued, “And if I should destroy his house he would build six more in the course of a week.”
  • “When thus far removed from the country, that gave us birth, from our friends and from the influence of the government of any state,” they declared, “we esteem it one of the greatest blessings, that we can have civil government established among us, which is the only foundation for the enjoyment of life, of liberty and of property.”

Thought Questions

  • What was the region known as “The Ohio Country”? What were the significant geographic features of this region?
  • Compare and Contrast the European search for security and stability in the Ohio Country with the process in Kentucky and Tennessee
  • Describe the impact European settlement had on Native Americans in the Ohio Country
  • Why was settlement slowed in the Ohio Country compared with Kentucky and Tennessee?
  • Who were the Native Americans that inhabited the Ohio Country around 1790?
  • Define the regions known commonly as “The Old Northwest” and “The Old Southwest”
  • Who was Arthur St. Clair and what were his functions over time in the Ohio Country?
  • What were the “two pressing problems” Arthur St. Clair needed to address?
  • What role did the French play in the American occupation of the Ohio Country and the Southwest?
  • How did the Northwest Ordinance facilitate settlement in the Ohio Country?
  • How did the Northwest Ordinance facilitate the establishment of government in the Ohio Country?
  • Describe the evolution of government (executive, judicial and legislative) in the Ohio country
  • How did British-American relations impact American – Native American relations?
  • What was the Ohio Company? Compare and Contrast the Ohio Country with the early colonial settlements such as Jamestown and Maryland
  • Compare and Contrast the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 with the Southwest Ordinance of 1790. How did they address the issue of slavery in the territories? How did they address the issue of Native Americans in the territories?
  • Describe the process of agricultural and commercial development in the Ohio Country? What role did Native Americans, African Slaves and French colonials play in this development?

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Collections

Further Reading

Week 3 :: Trans-Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 by Malcolm J. Rohrbough Chapter 2: The Search for Stability

 

Note: Chapter 2: Common Roads in the volume: The Transportation Revolution by George R. Taylor compliments this chapter well 

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “The two conditions were not mutually exclusive but often overlapped, or the second followed so closely on the first as to be indistinguishable from it.”
  • “Tobacco, Hemp, Wheat, beef, Pork, Hempseed, Flax, Hog’s Lard, Peltry, Bees wax, Hog’s Bristles, or Cash— They will contract (on generous terms) for the ensuing crop of Hemp. They want immediately to employ a number of men that understands Boat building. Also two good Coopers that understands either right work or flour barrels, and great wages will be given to a Miller who can come well recommended.” 

Thought Questions

  • Compare and Contrast the goals and methods of settlers in the “search for stability” with the settlers during the “struggle for security” 
  • What was the “pioneering cycle”?
  • Describe the process by which settlers created government, social and economic institutions in the early trans-Appalachian frontier to establish stability?
  • Describe the roles members of the settler family assumed on the early trans-Appalachian frontier?
  • Compare and Contrast the role family members played in trans-Appalachia with those of the preceding generation in eastern Appalachia 
  • Describe the living environment created by the Mississippi-Ohio-Cumberland-Kentucky river system? How did Native Americans live in this environment? How did settlers live in this environment?
  • Compare and Contrast the living circumstances of Native Americans and trans-Appalachian settlers
  • How did the transition from survival / subsistence farming to cash farming in the trans-Appalachian frontier?
  • Describe the economic circumstances and norms in early trans-Appalachia 
  • What impact did environmental changes and the replacement of wild animals by domestic animals impact Native Americans?
  • Where is the area known as “The Kentucky Bluegrass and the Cumberland Basin”?
  • What circumstances led to the development of plantations south of the Ohio river and farms north of the Ohio river? 
  • How did the trans Appalachian frontier reflect changes in the 1780s in the broader American society?

Further Reading

Week 2 :: Trans-Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 by Malcolm J. Rohrbough  Chapter 1: The Struggle for Security

 

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “April satd first [1775] this morning there is ice at our camp half inch thick we Start Early & travel this Day along a verey Bad hilley way cross one creek whear the horses almost got Mired Some fell in & all wet their loads we cross Clinch River & travell till late in the Night & camp on cove creek…. tuesday 11th this is a very loury morning & like for Rain But we all agree to Start Early we Cross Cumberland River & travel Down it about 10 miles through Some turrabel Cainbrakes as we went down abrams mair Ran into the River with Her load & Swam over he followd her & got on her & made her Swim Back agin it is a very Raney Eavening we take up camp near Richland Creek they Kill a Beef Mr Drake Bakes Bread with out Washing his hands we Keep Sentry this Night for fear of the indians.”
  • “began to discover the pleasing and rapturous appearance of the plains of Kentucky.” So wrote Felix Walker, another 1775 immigrant. Walker wrote of “a sight so delightful to our view and grateful to our feelings, almost inclined us, in imitation of Columbus, in transport to kiss the soil of Kentucky, as he hailed and saluted the sand on his first setting his foot on the shores of America.” 
  • “Regimental musters twice yearly and company musters quarterly were a center of political activity. The law specified that members of militia companies should elect their own officers, and many who had failed to meet the property qualifications for suffrage in one of the older colonies (later states) were given their first opportunity to cast a ballot or run for office. In Kentucky, early militia companies became designated units of political representation. As an example, each militia company elected one delegate to the Danville Convention of 1784. Militia activities also had a social dimension, for musters were the largest gathering of people on the transAppalachian frontiers until the great religious revivals at the turn of the century. They often coincided with court day, and after drills men would gather in small groups to play at politics, swap horses, engage in rough and tumble, debate the leading questions of the day (the price of land, crops, and slaves), or simply exchange news.”
  • “This limitation meant that Indian raiding parties could retire north of the Ohio River without risk of pursuit. This issue was one of several driving the Kentucky settlements toward independence from Virginia. In the face of these institutional and financial restrictions, private military organizations in the form of local volunteer units appeared to play a shadowy role in the early years of the transAppalachian settlements. Their establishment arose from the militia’s apparent inability to cope with the wideranging nature of Indian warfare. Confronted by sudden raids, the militia often seemed slow and clumsy in response. Private military groups, however, operated spontaneously and without the restraints of the militia or the restrictions imposed by Virginia. In their independence from higher authority and their singleminded determination for vengeance, they were highly motivated and fought well. ” 

Thought Questions

  • How did the early settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee define security?
  • In what ways did the early settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee try to create security? 
  • Describe the major river systems, mountain ranges and regions of Kentucky and its surrounding area
  • How does the Ohio River form a political boundary for Kentucky and an economic highway and nexus for the wider region and sections?
  • What is the Cumberland Gap?
  • How are the Ohio, Kentucky, Cumberland, Watuga and Tennessee Rivers connected into a river transportation network?
  • How did the river network impact the course of settlement in Kentucky and Tennessee?
  • Describe the political geography of the “Territory South of the River Ohio” or the Southwest Territory?
  • Describe the variety of experiences Native Americans faced when confronted with colonial settlers moving into the Kentucky / Tennessee area? 
  • How did the fur trade impact the colonial settlement of the Kentucky / Tennessee region?
  • Describe the natural resources of the trans-Appalachian region that made the area a draw to settlement
  • How did American pressure from the East and Native American pressure from the North impact the Native Americans of Kentucky and Tennessee?
  • What were the “common interests” and circumstances that created connections between American settlers and Native Americans in the trans-Appalachian frontier?
  • Describe the relationship between the “Mountain Men” and land speculators
  • What was the Transylvania Colony?
  • What area in the trans-Appalachian region is known as the “Blue Grass Region” and what are its characteristics?
  • Describe the establishment of the Kentucky territory and how it impacted the Transylvania Colony?
  • Describe the two stages of the occupation of western North Carolina
  • Compare and Contrast the settlement of the Kentucky territory with the settlement of the Tennessee region and the relationship between the two
  • What were the Watauga-Holston settlements?
  • Describe the significance of John Sevier of Tennessee
  • Describe the transition from a fur trading stage of exploration to the farming stage of settlement in Kentucky and Tennessee
  • Compare and Contrast the settlement environment of Kentucky and Tennessee 
  • Describe the “pioneering cycle” 
  • Who was John Breckenridge and how would his family become significant in the history of Kentucky? 

Articles and References

Further Reading

 

Week 1 :: Trans-Appalachian Frontier, People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 by Malcolm J. Rohrbough – Introduction: The Trans Appalachian Frontier

Thought Questions

  • What is the geographic area of the Trans-Appalachian frontier?
  • Why is the first Trans-Appalachian frontier significant?
  • What were some of the obstacles in the way of American trans Appalachian immigration?
  • What are some of the topics around trans Appalachian immigration the author sets out to explore?
  • What are some of the characteristics of the immigration cycle the author mentions?
  • How does the author demonstrate continuity through generations of immigrants?
  • How does the author demonstrate evolution through generations of immigrants?
  • In what ways does the author demonstrate the significance of gender on the trans Appalachian frontier?
  • In what ways does the author demonstrate how societies and institutions compared and contrasted on the trans Appalachian frontier?