Cover: Border Law: The First Seminole War and American Nationhood, from Harvard University PressCover: Border Law in HARDCOVER

Border Law

The First Seminole War and American Nationhood

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Product Details


$51.00 • £40.95 • €46.00

ISBN 9780674967618

Publication Date: 04/06/2015


328 pages

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

7 maps, 1 table


Rosen not only provides a full account of the border conflict but also offers a thorough discussion of how the campaign reflected contemporary views of the young nation’s place in the world… Rosen argues convincingly that the Seminole War established a pattern of assertive U.S. behavior that defined the early decades of U.S. history, leading to expanded economic/political opportunities but also inevitable conflict with Native Americans and regional neighbors.—S. J. Ramold, Choice

In the early American republic, empire-builders headed west—to Louisiana, Texas, and the Pacific. But first they went to Florida. There, as Deborah Rosen shows in this magisterial study of Andrew Jackson’s Seminole War, Americans pioneered the legal doctrines and practices that would underpin the United States’ expansion for the next century. Blending legal history with borderland history, Indian history, the history of slavery, and military and diplomatic history, Border Law is a major contribution to the story of how America’s empire of liberty became an empire.—Eliga Gould, author of Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire

Deborah Rosen’s provocative Border Law conceptualizes the Seminole War as a defining moment of American nation-building. Beyond the diplomatic high-handedness and low territorial motives, Rosen finds that Americans struggled creatively to match their ambitions with the law of nations. On the floor of Congress and beyond, popular desire for spatial expansion, racial exclusion, and national justice overrode conventional understandings of international diplomacy and law, helping to remake that law along the way. Among other virtues, Rosen puts Native Americans, Spaniards, and Britons at the center of early American history. Part of a new political history that blends diplomacy, law, and political culture, Rosen’s in-depth examination bridges the Early Republic and Jacksonian America.—Daniel Hulsebosch, New York University School of Law

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