Current Issue Article Abstracts

Winter 2023, Vol. 21.3

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Connubial Adventurers: Playing the Matrimonial Lottery in British America
Lindsay M. Keiter

The connection between marriage and lotteries emerged with the first British state lotteries and persisted throughout the eighteenth century in British America, despite the well-documented rise of companionate marriage. Drawing extensively on newspapers rather than fiction or prescriptive literature, Keiter reveals a deep current of skepticism about these changing ideals. Lottery analogies and satirical lottery schemes circulated widely, showing a shared set of expectations and concerns in the young nation. These tropes emphasized the continued centrality of wealth to marriage while suggesting that marital happiness remained a gamble with unfavorable odds.

Dividing the Carolinas: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in the Prerevolutionary Boundary Dispute, 1763–1773
Stuart H. Marshall

Between 1763 and 1773, North and South Carolina officials intensified their competition over their western backcountry when they attempted to resolve the boundary that had remained in question for decades. Historiography about this boundary has failed to recognize how common people in the Carolinas—Indians, colonists, and slaves—set the terms for the dispute and shaped the geography of early America. This boundary dispute offers a unique comparative glimpse of the Carolinas and exposes their most severe internal divisions—for North Carolina, the widespread Regulator movement that originated in disputes over western land, and for South Carolina, the heightened risk of slave revolts that accompanied the province's development. Catawba Indians occupied a central focus of the dispute, courted as an essential ally by South Carolina, while Cherokees hoped to halt the western expansion of both Carolinas. The boundary dispute determined the future of the diverging Carolinas, particularly in foreshadowing the tensions of state formation that manifested during the American Revolution. Indians, colonists, and slaves claimed their own spaces in between the imaginary lines of imperial power.

The Émigré and the General: Denis Volozan's Portrait of George Washington in an Atlantic Context
Thomas Busciglio-Ritter

In 1802, the French painter Denis Volozan (1765–1820) completed a posthumous portrait of George Washington commissioned by the legislature of Delaware for its State House in Dover. A recent immigrant to the United States, the artist had relocated to Philadelphia from the island of Saint-Domingue at the height of the Haitian Revolution. Once it was unveiled, however, the painting provoked widespread public dislike. Hidden from view, it was barely saved from destruction in the 1960s. Though the choice to entrust Volozan with such a project may have seemed like poor judgment to contemporary audiences, this article argues that his portrait illustrates the symbolic reinterpretation of Washington by transatlantic French diasporas in North America and the Caribbean, of which the painter was a part. Volozan was familiar with depictions of both European elites and figures of power like Toussaint Louverture, whom he had sketched in 1800. As such, his approach to American political portraiture was a result of greater dynamics of circulation in the Atlantic world. Celebrating a patriotic figure, his Delaware picture was nonetheless shaped by the political and cultural interactions between France, Britain, and the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Land, Fur, and Copper: The Union of Settler Colonialism and Industrial Capitalism in the Great Lakes Region, 1815–1842
Gustave Lester

This article examines the relationship between settler colonialism and the rise of mineral-intensive industrial manufacturing in the United States. Land expropriated from Anishinaabe nations in what is currently the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan was one of the largest sources of copper for nineteenth-century U.S. industrial capitalists. The U.S. takeover of mineral-rich Anishinaabe land reflects the early union of settler colonial ambitions for the Great Lakes region with an emerging political economy of national self-sufficiency by way of continental supplies of raw materials typically imported from overseas. After the War of 1812, U.S. officials imagined the transformation of Anishinaabewaki into the material basis of an independent U.S. copper industry. Accordingly, they employed geologists to conduct fieldwork within Indigenous territories to help guide and facilitate the process of treaty making. However, the authority of the United States remained weak where they had little control over commerce and could not depend on the pressures of encroaching settler populations. Only by granting and enforcing a trade monopoly with the American Fur Company were U.S. leaders able to make inroads toward their goals of acquiring territorial control over the raw materials of industrial capitalism and dispossessing the Anishinaabeg.

Consider the Source: An 1800 Maroon Treaty
Rachel B. Herrmann

In 1800, an exiled community of Jamaican Maroons migrated from Nova Scotia to the British antislavery colony of Sierra Leone. When they disembarked, Maroon captains met with Sierra Leone Company officials and rapidly negotiated and coauthored a treaty. This treaty is a composite manuscript document scattered throughout the National Archives at Kew (United Kingdom). The diplomatic customs that Maroons and British officials observed at the negotiation—including making speeches, reading script words aloud, and refusing to sign documents—marked the document as a treaty. This essay makes the case that the source is a treaty; explains and contextualizes the negotiation that occurred; and explores the themes of settlement, alliance, and antislavery that changed in Maroon treaties in Jamaica and Sierra Leone in the eighteenth century.