In 1826, US citizens celebrated the 50th anniversary of independence with revelry and publications. Timothy Flint's Francis Berrian (1826) was one of several novels written for the occasion, as well as James Fenimore Cooper's The Prairie (1827). These two novels offered radically different interpretations of the impact of western expansion on the republic. For the easterner Cooper, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 had sapped the republic's original virtues. The westerner Flint, however, saw the growth into new territories as part of a teleology of Anglo republican successes against savagery and tyranny. Flint's novel described the life of Berrian as an Anglo Lafayette, whose republican adventures had led to the liberation of Mexico from Spain. Andy Doolen studies the many narratives created by state and nonstate actors in the trans-Mississippi borderlands to carve out an Anglo empire. According to Doolen, this empire grew...

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