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C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
North American Nation-Building
Notes taken on January 3, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
United States
once referred to in the plural, now being increasingly referred to in the singular
a process of the various parts through expansion
while Japan and Germany integrated old, feudal parts into something new
the United States, Canada and Brazil had different ambitions
they were the products of something new
they were not old feudal remnants
what they did have was a frontier
most of the populations were hemmed in and close to coastal regions
were old, maritime colonies
the opening up of the hinterlands and internal frontiers allowed these new areas of territorial expansion to be amalgamated to the older maritime colonies
in this way, frontier expansion enabled the creation of new nations
what did this ecological windfall look like from the frontier itself
the land of opportunity
Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889
land grabbers were released to rush out and stake claims to lands
an opportunity to expand farming
the farmer almost becoming the icon of the nation builder to fan out across these new territorial regions
1800-1860, the number of U.S. farmers grew by 700%
an agrarian model of expansion
expansion was dependent on actions of the government
1803 Thomas Jefferson acquired from France the territories of France
in some cases, expansion came only through conquest
at the expense of indigenous peoples
at the expense of adjacent states
had difficulty defending themselves
Southwest of United States
in any case frontier expansion meant
eviction, dislocation, or containment in reservations of incumbent populations
the people who were there before the land grabbing began
it was difficult and there was little interest in integrating those that were met into the system
this particularly effected the fate of American Indians and Mexicans
this expansion process as reinforced by technological changes
1834 The Reaper
Cyrus McCormick
very popularly sold after 1855
1847 John Deere Plow: first all-steel plow
made commercial agriculture feasible
there was a whole set of innovations surrounding the plow that were important for opening up frontier lands
made frontier lands commercially viable
1860 The Combine Reaper/Harvester
1920 horses began to be replaced by tractors
entire cities would build on the backs of this process of mechanization of agriculture
territories which were once hinterlands were now producing goods which were being shipped nationally and internationally
city of Chicago
came economically important through
Erie Canal
became a hub for this newly expanding territorial empire
decline of agrarian self-sufficiency
more and more food production made by farmers with no intention of eating the food themselves
1820, 80% of the food production was consumed by rural populations
by 1870, 60%
could feed growing urban population
became producer of foods for foreign markets
these kinds of processes were occurring also in Canada, Brazil and Argentina
number of farmers
1800: 600,000
1850: 1,800,000
1870: 3,130,000
productivity was also increasing
many immigrants being attracted
expanding economy
took advantage of these new opportunities, particularly after 1862 Homestead Act
any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land
state played a very important roll
acquires land
declares land laws
built public schools
led to a national identity
overcoming internal, regional, often linguistic and religious differences
there were minorities who were not allowed to participate
two divergent models of how this frontier expansion would occur
1. one based on free labor
2. one based on slavery
the expansion westward could not resolve this fundamental difference
helped put the country on a collision course to civil war
once the war was over, the country could create one military machine
pacify the remaining areas of frontier of resistance into corporation into the republic
the army used in the Civil War could not be redeployed to the West
leading to the defeat of the perennial threats to Westward expansion
1840 Comanche Raid
Comanches often resisted being incorporated into the United States
wars against the Comanches accelerated into the 1840s
led to a quasi military occupation and mediation which eventually brought the Comanches under United States authority
military also become the occupying force in the South
Freedman's Bureau as National-builder
U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, popularly known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in 1865 by Congress to help former black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War
these developments in the United States echoes worldwide nation building
new models of inclusion and exclusion
Darwin is referring to our common origins but everywhere there is nation building
internal integration through language, political institutions and schools
to overcome the lines that segregated peoples within languages
but inscribing lines which separated nations with other nations
often using warfare as an instrument to build these new national identities
states makes war, and war makes nations
created a new and potent model for political identities, a feature of the global system that did not exist in 1750