Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

John P. Bowes

Department Affiliation

History

Abstract

This research examines the often-glorified relationship between New France and the American Indians with which that empire came into contact in North America, focusing primarily on the conflicting policies seen during the Fox Wars and the Natchez Wars. Many recent histories of New France, including Richard White's seminal study The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires and Republics, 1650-1815, focus primarily on the lands surrounding the Great Lakes. These histories champion a French Indian policy that was dominated by the fur trade and illustrated by the outbreak of the Fox Wars in 1712. However, New France's Indian policy was not always dictated by the vast and powerful fur trade. Once the French reached the Gulf of Mexico and began settling in the Deep South, priorities changed, and an often-overlooked chapter of colonial French history began.

Much of the primary research on the Natchez Indians was performed by looking exhaustively though the letters, decrees and memoirs written in The Mississippi Provincial Archives: French Dominion Volumes II, III and IV. Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz's L'Histoire de la Louisiane also proved to be an invaluable primary resource during the process. When dealing with the Upper Country, much of my research focused on the primary source smorgasbord presented online by the Wisconsin Historical Collections and the Michigan Pioneers and Historical Collections.

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