“This important volume amply demonstrates ways in which the Ohio Country indeed formed the center of a great empire.”
Ginette Aley, Indiana Magazine of History
“The people who lived in what became the seventeenth state in the American Union in 1803 were not only at the center of a great empire, they were at the center of the most important historical developments in the revolutionary Atlantic World.”
—From the introduction
Nowhere did the revolutions in politics, commerce, and society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries occur more quickly or more thoroughly than in the Ohio country. A forested borderland dominated by American Indians in 1780, Ohio was a landscape of farms and towns inhabited by people from all over the world by 1830. The Center of a Great Empire: The Ohio Country in the Early Republic chronicles this dramatic and all-encompassing change.
Andrew R. L. Cayton and Stuart D. Hobbs have assembled an impressive collection of articles by established and rising scholars. They address the conquest of Native Americans, the emergence of a democratic political culture, the origins of capitalism, the formation of public culture, the growth of evangelical Protestantism, the ambiguous status of African Americans, and social life in a place that most regarded as the cutting edge of human history.
For The Center of a Great Empire, distinguished historians of the American nation in its first decades question conventional wisdom. They emphasize contingency rather than inevitability and contention rather than progress. Downplaying the frontier character of Ohio, they offer new interpretations and open new paths of inquiry through investigations of race, education, politics, religion, family, commerce, colonialism, and conquest. As it underscores key themes in the history of the United States, The Center of a Great Empire pursues issues that have fascinated people for two centuries.
Andrew R. L. Cayton, distinguished professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is the author of several books, including Ohio: The History of a People and, with Fred Anderson, The Dominion of War: Liberty and Empire in North America, 1500–2000. More info →
Stuart D. Hobbs is the program director for History in the Heartland, a professional development program for middle and high school teachers of history. Hobbs is the author of The End of the American Avant Garde. More info →
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Beginning in 1803, the Ohio legislature enacted what came to be known as the Black Laws. These laws instituted barriers against blacks entering the state and placed limits on black testimony against whites.
In 1860, Ohio was among the most influential states in the nation. As the third-most-populous state and the largest in the middle west, it embraced those elements that were in concert-but also at odds-in American society during the Civil War era. Ohio’s War uses documents from that vibrant and tumultuous time to reveal how Ohio’s soldiers and civilians experienced the Civil War.
Gibbons v. Ogden, Law, and Society in the Early Republic examines a landmark decision in American jurisprudence, the first Supreme Court case to deal with the thorny legal issue of interstate commerce.Decided in 1824, Gibbons v. Ogden arose out of litigation between owners of rival steamboat lines over passenger and freight routes between the neighboring states of New York and New Jersey.
Ohio’s First Peoples depicts the Native Amerxadicans of the Buckeye State from the time of the Hopewell peoples to the forced removal of the Wyandots in the 1840s.
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