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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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Like So Many Armies

Like So Many Armies

(p.56) 3 Like So Many Armies
Engines of Diplomacy

David Andrew Nichols

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter observes that the United States used its factories not only to solidify its influence in pre-Revolutionary borderlands, but also as part of its apparatus of expansion into newly-acquired territories, specifically the Louisiana Purchase. Trading houses at Arkansas Post, Bellefontaine, and Natchitoches would serve, befriend, and sway the Indian nations of the Mississippi Valley, such as the Sauks and Osages. However, the officials who chose the new factory sites acted out of ignorance: inconvenient locations and competition from well-capitalized private traders doomed two factories to closure, and a third remained open only because of its useful proximity to Texas and high volume of business. Eventually, local actors—Indians and traders—persuaded the War Department to move the assets of its largest trans-Mississippi trading house to more geographically advantageous positions.

Keywords:   Competition, Frontier, Frontier-Exchange, Louisiana Purchase, Osages, Sauks

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