Archive | June, 2016

Everything Changes: The Arrival of the Americans

The amiable and polished citizens of the French towns were appalled.  The English-speaking Americans, who were crossing the Mississippi River by the thousands in the years after the Battle of New Orleans, were rude, violent, thieving, litigious, and unconcerned with harmony in social relationships.  They ignored all rules and restrictions, settling on Federal land without […]

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The Indian Nations, Moving Endlessly West

When the French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet first arrived on the Great Plains in 1673, they encountered a tribe who may themselves have arrived only shortly before.  The Osage had moved west from the Ohio valley over the previous century, because of a long series of conflicts with the Iroquois.  They were a […]

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Women and Slaves in the French Towns of the Mississippi

Land use, political structure and fondness for dancing may have been the most visible differences between the French towns of the Mississippi valley and the settlements of the arriving Americans.  Other aspects of French society, however, may have had more enduring effects. One of these aspects involved the roles and status of women.  French women […]

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A Different World: The French Towns of the Mississippi Valley

The French arrived in the Mississippi valley a full century before the Americans.  They arrived as fur traders, not farmers or hunters, and they settled not on widely scattered farms but in towns and villages.  In those villages they created a world dramatically different from the world of the American borderers who would eventually overwhelm […]

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