Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800

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This book, first published in 1997, examines the efforts of France, Britain, and the United States to extend imperial dominion over the Ohio Valley, focusing on the relations between Europeans and Indians to tell the story. It treats empires as cross-cultural constructions whose details were negotiated by their participants, not directed from London, Paris, or Philadelphia. Hinderaker argues that three models of empire competed for acceptance in the region: empires of commerce and of land, each of which was attempted by both the French and the British, and an empire of liberty, which grew out of the American Revolution and eventually became the basis for Euro-American occupation of the valley. The result is a fascinating story that carefully considers the wealth of recent scholarship on the West, but simultaneously offers a strikingly new interpretation of the American Revolution and its legacy in the relations between Indians and the new American nation.