Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

by Virginia DeJohn Anderson
     
 

When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans—not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestock played a vitally important role in the settling of the New World.

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Overview

When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans—not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestock played a vitally important role in the settling of the New World.
Livestock, Anderson writes, were a central factor in the cultural clash between colonists and Indians as well as a driving force in the expansion west. By bringing livestock across the Atlantic, colonists believed that they provided the means to realize America's potential. It was thought that if the Native Americans learned to keep livestock as well, they would be that much closer to assimilating the colonists' culture, especially their Christian faith. But colonists failed to anticipate the problems that would arise as Indians began encountering free-ranging livestock at almost every turn, often trespassing in their cornfields. Moreover, when growing populations and an expansive style of husbandry required far more space than they had expected, colonists could see no alternative but to appropriate Indian land. This created tensions that reached the boiling point with King Philip's War and Bacon's Rebellion. And it established a pattern that would repeat time and again over the next two centuries.
A stunning account that presents our history in a truly new light, Creatures of Empire restores a vital element of our past, illuminating one of the great forces of colonization and the expansion westward.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195304466
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/19/2006
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
506,332
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Virginia DeJohn Anderson is Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the author of New England's Generation and co-author (with David Goldfield, et al.) of The American Journey: A History of the United States.

Table of Contents

Prologue : seeing Banquo's ghost1
Pt. IThinking about animals
1Chickwallop and the strange beast : Indians and animals in early America15
2The deer with the red collar : English ideas about animals43
Pt. IISettling with animals
3The company of cattle : domestication and colonization75
4The wild gangs of the Chesapeake : livestock husbandry in the south107
5A world of pastures and pounds : raising livestock in early New England141
Pt. IIIContending with animals
6Forgiving trespasses : living with livestock in early America175
7A prophecy fulfilled : from cooperation to the displacement of Indians209
Epilogue : full circle243

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