Cover: How the Indians Lost Their Land: Law and Power on the Frontier, from Harvard University PressCover: How the Indians Lost Their Land in PAPERBACK

How the Indians Lost Their Land

Law and Power on the Frontier

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$29.50 • £23.95 • €26.50

ISBN 9780674023963

Publication Date: 04/30/2007

Academic Trade

352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

9 halftones

Belknap Press

World

Between the early seventeenth century and the early twentieth, nearly all the land in the United States was transferred from American Indians to whites. This dramatic transformation has been understood in two very different ways—as a series of consensual transactions, but also as a process of violent conquest. Both views cannot be correct. How did Indians actually lose their land?

Stuart Banner provides the first comprehensive answer. He argues that neither simple coercion nor simple consent reflects the complicated legal history of land transfers. Instead, time, place, and the balance of power between Indians and settlers decided the outcome of land struggles. As whites’ power grew, they were able to establish the legal institutions and the rules by which land transactions would be made and enforced.

This story of America’s colonization remains a story of power, but a more complex kind of power than historians have acknowledged. It is a story in which military force was less important than the power to shape the legal framework within which land would be owned. As a result, white Americans—from eastern cities to the western frontiers—could believe they were buying land from the Indians the same way they bought land from one another. How the Indians Lost Their Land dramatically reveals how subtle changes in the law can determine the fate of a nation, and our understanding of the past.

Awards & Accolades

  • Honorable Mention, 2006 John Phillip Reid Book Award, American Society for Legal History
Bitter Reckoning: Israel Tries Holocaust Survivors as Nazi Collaborators, by Dan Porat, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, by James Hankins, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with James Hankins, author of Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy

With Virtue Politics, James Hankins has delivered a bold, revisionist account of the political thought of the Italian Renaissance—from Petrarch to Machiavelli—that reveals the all-important role of character in shaping society, both in citizens and in their leaders. We spoke to him about the importance of virtue to leadership in Renaissance Italy—and its relevance to our own time.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.