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Colonial Elites and U.S. Governance in Early National Louisiana, 1803-1815

Instruments of Empire

  • M. K. Beauchamp's Instruments of Empire examines the challenges that resulted from U.S. territorial expansion through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. With the acquisition of this vast region, the United States gained a colonial European population whose birthplace, language, and religion often differed from those of their U.S. counterparts. This population exhibited multiple ethnic tensions and possessed little experience with republican government. Consequently, administration of the territory proved a trial-and-error endeavor involving incremental cooperation between federal officials and local elites. As Beauchamp demonstrates, this process of gradual accommodation served as an essential nationalizing experience for the people of Louisiana.

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