The American Early Republic and Frontier Era History

Chapter 4: The Reach Of Government And The Authority Of Law Spread Across The Western Country (Part 2) :: The Trans-Appalachian Frontier By Malcolm J. Rohrbough

This part begins with Louisiana and the Orleans territory

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Governor Claiborne thought the people of Louisiana wealthy and generally honest but “uninformed, indolent, luxurious—in a word, illy fitted to be useful citizens of the Republic.””
  • “I fear the trial by Jury, the introduction of oral testimony, the Admission of Attorneys &c will illy comport with the former habits of the People, and that the Court, (as I have been) will be accused by the designing few, of making injurious innovations on the Spanish Law.”
  • “Their choice in form and details notably restricted expressions of the popular will. If the transfer to the United States had introduced a measure of universal white male suffrage, the expressed use of this right under the new constitution would be limited.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the beginning evolution of the general area of the Louisiana and Orleans territory prior to the Louisiana Purchase
  • In what ways was Louisiana the “exception” to territorial development?
  • What were the most significant aspects of the Louisiana Purchase (other than simply size)
  • Who was William Charles Cole Claiborne and what was his significance to territorial development in the old Southwest
  • What was the Territory of Orleans? What was the territory of Louisiana? How did they evolve prior to statehood?
  • How were the District of Arkansas and the Territory of North Louisiana formed?
  • How was the Territory of Arkansaw (later Arkansas Territory) established?
  • What misunderstanding did American officials persist with in regards to the Louisiana Territory?
  • Explain and Expand: “Remonstrance of the People of Louisiana against the Political System Adopted by Congress for Them.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Governor Claiborne attempted both to carry out his instructions from Washington and, at the same time, to placate the residents of Louisiana.”
  • React and Respond: “Indians were largely ignored except where they made trouble.”
  • In what ways did slavery and the New Orleans slave trade impact the organization of Lousiana
  • Compare and Contrast: the county and township structure and the duties apportioned to various units of government between Louisiana and the territories created under the Northwest Ordinance
  • What was the “police jury”?
  • Explain and Expand: “A basic concern of all parishes, all police juries, and the government of the territory itself was control of the slave population.”
  • Affirm or Refute: “This twenty years of growth in the West was remarkable for national expansion through diplomacy” from a non-European perspective
  • Who was William Henry Harrison and how did he impact relations between the United States and Native Americans
  • Explain and Expand: the relationship between the institution of slavery and William Henry Harrison
  • Explain and Expand: “The War of 1812, brought on in part by the perceived connection between Indian depredations and British advisors moving south from Canada, intersected with the attractive opportunity to seize Canada while the British were occupied in a life and death struggle against Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe.”

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

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