front cover of The Center of a Great Empire
The Center of a Great Empire
The Ohio Country in the Early Republic
Andrew R. L. Cayton
Ohio University Press, 2005

“The people who lived in what became the seventeenth state in the American Union in 1803 were not only at the center of a great empire, they were at the center of the most important historical developments in the revolutionary Atlantic World.”
From the introduction

Nowhere did the revolutions in politics, commerce, and society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries occur more quickly or more thoroughly than in the Ohio country. A forested borderland dominated by American Indians in 1780, Ohio was a landscape of farms and towns inhabited by people from all over the world by 1830. The Center of a Great Empire: The Ohio Country in the Early Republic chronicles this dramatic and all-encompassing change.

Andrew R. L. Cayton and Stuart D. Hobbs have assembled an impressive collection of articles by established and rising scholars. They address the conquest of Native Americans, the emergence of a democratic political culture, the origins of capitalism, the formation of public culture, the growth of evangelical Protestantism, the ambiguous status of African Americans, and social life in a place that most regarded as the cutting edge of human history.

For The Center of a Great Empire, distinguished historians of the American nation in its first decades question conventional wisdom. They emphasize contingency rather than inevitability and contention rather than progress. Downplaying the frontier character of Ohio, they offer new interpretations and open new paths of inquiry through investigations of race, education, politics, religion, family, commerce, colonialism, and conquest. As it underscores key themes in the history of the United States, The Center of a Great Empire pursues issues that have fascinated people for two centuries.


front cover of Ohio’s War
Ohio’s War
The Civil War in Documents
Christine Dee
Ohio University Press, 2006

In 1860, Ohio was among the most influential states in the nation. As the third-most-populous state and the largest in the middle west, it embraced those elements that were in concert-but also at odds-in American society during the Civil War era. Ohio’s War uses documents from that vibrant and tumultuous time to reveal how Ohio’s soldiers and civilians experienced the Civil War. It examines Ohio’s role in the sectional crises of the 1850s, its contribution to the Union war effort, and the war’s impact on the state itself. In doing so, it provides insights into the war’s meaning for northern society.

Ohio’s War introduces some of those soldiers who left their farms, shops, and forges to fight for the Union. It documents the stories of Ohio’s women, who sustained households, organized relief efforts, and supported political candidates. It conveys the struggles and successes of free blacks and former slaves who claimed freedom in Ohio and the distinct wartime experiences of its immigrants. It also includes the voices of Ohioans who differed over emancipation, freedom of speech, the writ of habeas corpus, the draft, and the war’s legacy for American society.

From Ohio’s large cities to its farms and hamlets, as the documents in this volume show, the war changed minds and altered lives but left some beliefs and values untouched. Ohio’s War is a documentary history not only of the people of one state, but also of a region and a nation during the pivotal epoch of American history.


front cover of Settling Ohio
Settling Ohio
First Peoples and Beyond
Timothy G. Anderson
Ohio University Press, 2023

Scholars working in archaeology, education, history, geography, and politics tell a nuanced story about the people and dynamics that reshaped this region and determined who would control it.

The Ohio Valley possesses some of the most resource-rich terrain in the world. Its settlement by humans was thus consequential not only for shaping the geographic and cultural landscape of the region but also for forming the United States and the future of world history.

Settling Ohio begins with an overview of the first people who inhabited the region, who built civilizations that moved massive amounts of earth and left an archaeological record that drew the interest of subsequent settlers and continues to intrigue scholars. It highlights how, in the eighteenth century, Native Americans who migrated from the East and North interacted with Europeans to develop impressive trading networks and how they navigated complicated wars and sought to preserve national identities in the face of violent attempts to remove them from their lands.

The book situates the traditional story of Ohio settlement, including the Northwest Ordinance, the dealings of the Ohio Company of Associates, and early road building, into a far richer story of contested spaces, competing visions of nationhood, and complicated relations with Indian peoples. By so doing, the contributors provide valuable new insights into how chaotic and contingent early national politics and frontier development truly were. Chapters highlighting the role of apple-growing culture, education, African American settlers, and the diverse migration flows into Ohio from the East and Europe further demonstrate the complex multiethnic composition of Ohio’s early settlements and the tensions that resulted.

A final theme of this volume is the desirability of working to recover the often-forgotten history of non-White peoples displaced by the processes of settler colonialism that has been, until recently, undervalued in the scholarship.


The Ohio State University Press, 1998

front cover of The Toledo War
The Toledo War
The First Michigan-Ohio Rivalry
Don Faber
University of Michigan Press, 2008

"An engaging account of the Toledo War of 1835, a serious confrontation whose outcome established the borders of the state of Michigan. Faber expertly narrates the history of a dispute conducted by fascinating characters practicing political shenanigans of the highest order."
---Andrew Cayton, author of Ohio: The History of a People and a general editor of The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia

Most are familiar with the Michigan-Ohio football rivalry, an intense but usually good-natured contest that stretches back over one hundred years. Yet far fewer may know that in the early nineteenth century Michigan and Ohio were locked in a different kind of battle---one that began before Michigan became a state.

The conflict started with a long-simmering dispute over a narrow wedge of land called the Toledo Strip. Early maps were famously imprecise, adding to the uncertainty of the true boundary between the states. When Ohio claimed to the mouth of the Maumee River, land that according to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 fell in the territory of Michigan, the "Toledo War" began.

Today the fight may bring a smile to Michiganians and Ohioans because both states benefited: Ohioans won the war and Michigan got the Upper Peninsula. But back then passions about rightful ownership ran high, and it would take many years---and colorful personalities all the way up to presidents---to settle the dispute. The Toledo War: The First Michigan-Ohio Rivalry gives a well-researched and fascinating account of the famous war.

Don Faber is best known as the former editor of the Ann Arbor News. He also served on the staff of the Michigan Constitutional Convention, won a Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in the Michigan Senate, and was a speechwriter for Michigan governor George Romney. Now retired, Faber lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Jeannette, and indulges in his love of Michigan history.


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