The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 27, 1991 - History - 544 pages
5 Reviews
This book seeks to step outside the simple stories of Indian/white relations--stories of conquest and assimilation and stories of cultural persistence. It is, instead, about a search for accommodation and common meaning. It tells how Europeans and Indians met, regarding each other as alien, as virtually nonhuman, and how between 1650 and 1815 they constructed a common, mutually comprehensible world in the region around the Great Lakes that the French called the "Pays d'en haut". Here the older worlds of the Algonquins and various Europeans overlapped, and their mixture created new systems of meaning and of exchange. Finally, the book tells of the breakdown of accommodation and common meanings and the recreation of the Indians as alien and exotic. The process of accommodation described in this book takes place in a middle ground, a place in between cultures and peoples, and in between empires and non-state villages. On the middle ground people try to persuade others who are different than themselves by appealing to what they perceive to be the values and practices of those others. From the creative misunderstandings that result, there arise shared meanings and new practices.

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User Review  - ScoutJ - LibraryThing

Much of American history presents the view of Native Americans as the conquered peoples in a linear story that begins with the landing of Columbus in the Caribbean and ends with the Trail of Tears and ... Read full review

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User Review  - bfertig - LibraryThing

Slogged my way through The middle ground to finally finish it and post a 977 for the Dewey Decimal Challenge. This was an interesting book, and actually many parts of it read very quickly, provided I ... Read full review


Refugees a world made of fragments
The middle ground
The fur trade
The alliance
Republicans and rebels
The clash of empires
Pontiac and the restoration of the middle ground
The British alliance
The contest of villagers
The politics of benevolence
Assimilation and otherness

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About the author (1991)

Richard White, professor of History at the University of Washington in Seattle, is the author of "The Middle Ground" and "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own" and the recipient of the Albert J. Beveridge and Western Heritage awards.

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