Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
During the most crucial years of the early republic (1780-1830), Jeffersonian Philanthropy saw the incorporation of the Native American into American citizenry as an ideal cornerstone for the building of the new nation. This assimilation would take many forms, yet the most discussed are intermarriage, the acceptance of Christianity, and the Native influence on the story of the nation's founding. This study examines the ways in which the literary genre of the Frontier Romance portrays, influences, and critiques Native American assimilation and interacts with political and social writing of the early republic. Intermarriage between Native and European Americans is discussed in a chapter on Rowson's Rueben and Rachel, Child'sHobomok, and Sedgwick's Hope Leslie. Christianity and the Native American is discussed in a chapter on Bleecker's The History of Maria Kittle, Brown's Wieland, Sedgewick's Hope Leslie, and the anonymously published work The Christian Indian. Lastly, the Natives role in shaping the American individual is discussed in a chapter covering Brown's Edgar Huntly, James McHenry's The Wilderness, and the third novel in James Fennimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, The Prairie.
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