Empire by Collaboration reveals “a new side of the early modern French empire and a different side of early modern colonialism more generally” (7). It marks a departure from existing scholarship that measures the relative success or failure of empires to implement their policies in the Americas. Rather than attempt to discern if the imperial center could tame the colonial periphery, Morrissey asks, “What was the nature of colonialism?” (6). Spanning roughly the 1670s to the 1770s, Morrissey’s book argues that the French Empire in Illinois rested on a series of collaborations among settlers, Indians, and slaves. One “major contention” of this book is that inhabitants in Illinois did not simply accommodate one another out of ignorance but “truly saw eye to eye” and forged an “informed, purposeful collaboration” (9–10). Over eight chapters Morrissey shows that the local community in Illinois forged...

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