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Title: Beyond removal : Indians, states, and sovereignties in the American South, 1812-1860
Author: Dinwoodie, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 5764
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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In 1830, the US Congress passed the Indian Removal Act; within a decade, 65,000 of the South's original inhabitants had left the region. Two centuries later, historians still see removal as a pivot that transformed indigenous South into Cotton Kingdom. This dissertation tells a different story. Contrary to officials’ hopes, thousands of indigenous Southerners remained. This dissertation provides the first account of non-removal as a massive cross-regional phenomenon which affected not only indigenous Southerners, but also American officials, local residents, and continental dynamics of sovereignty, state development, and empire. Historians have tended to see an inescapable choice between assimilation and removal. This dissertation demonstrates that thousands of indigenous Southerners successfully carved out a third option, creating their own alternate routes to remain. By fleeing into impenetrable terrain or passing as white, many people avoided agents’ attempts to see and control them. Others cooperated with American officials, subverting state policies to remain hidden in plain sight. Because they sought to evade officials, many of these people simply do not appear in traditional archives, especially federal documents. This dissertation reinterprets these silences, reading them not as moments where nothing happened, but where indigenous Southerners took actions which statesmen could not see. In doing so, it reveals the world as officials saw it, but also the many blind spots that also marred their vision. This optic cautions against over-easy interpretations of the reach of the early nineteenth-century American state, demonstrating both its enormous capacities and its glaring weaknesses. Ultimately, this dissertation challenges understandings of removal a transition to American control over the South, and demonstrates that the line between nineteenth-century American expansion and sovereignty was not always an automatic one. Behind slaveholders' illusion of a binary racial universe lay an enduring indigenous world, often illegible to outsiders.
Supervisor: Hamalainen, Pekka Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; McNeil Center for Early American Studies ; University of Pennsylvania
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available