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Engines of DiplomacyIndian Trading Factories and the Negotiation of American Empire$
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David Andrew Nichols

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626895

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626895.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Engines of Diplomacy

David Andrew Nichols

University of North Carolina Press

Historians of the United States' Indian factory system focused their attention on its weaknesses and economic inefficiencies, failing to ask why, in light of these deficiencies, it lasted for a quarter of a century. Early American leaders of all political persuasions viewed trade less as an economic than a political enterprise, a way to promote peaceful relations between different nations and, more subtly, to manipulate other peoples with the mechanisms of consumer demand and debt. Native Americans agreed with Euro-Americans that commerce served as an engine of peace, a form of large-scale gift exchange, and a demonstration of reciprocity. Some also came to see the factories as political and economic assets, sources of credit, hospitality, gifts, and personal influence.

Keywords:   Benton, Historiography, Influence, Civilization, Diplomacy

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