Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Adviser

Soderlund, Jean

Abstract

In 1765, George Croghan began peace negotiations with Pontiac and the Western Confederacy he represented, along with the Delawares, Shawnees, and Ohio Senecas. By using a microhistorical approach to analyze this single diplomatic event, this thesis explores the complexity and contingency of British imperialism within the northern trans-Appalachian West. I argue that imperialism and attempts to bring the region under British control integrated Indian voices within the imperial project. Indians shaped and defined their own relationships with empire while co-opting British imperialism in order to achieve their own goals. Furthermore, the empire lacked cohesion as different British colonial authorities competed against each other. In the end, the various delegates attending this series of treaty negotiations navigated a complicated landscape of political and diplomatic power in the northern trans-Appalachian West where Indian, colonial, and imperial voices all spoke with authority. Thus, George Croghan's mission in 1765 can only be understood as an amalgamation of imperial, colonial, and Indian visions for the northern trans-Appalachian West, working simultaneously alongside and in competition with the personal aspirations of the mission's participants.

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