Early American History Seminar Frontiers and Geopolitics of Early America 31 March 2015.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Patrick Spero, Williams College Comment: Kate Grandjean, Wellesley College

This essay investigates the use of the term “frontier” in its colonial context to show that the word conveyed a potent message that affected the political development of British North America. More than just an etymological exercise, the research shows how governmental and social understandings of frontiers and their specific locations influenced official policies and settler action. It argues that a disagreement over the location and treatment of the imperial frontier in the 1760s created a crisis of empire in the years preceding Independence. The essay ends with an examination of changes to the word’s meaning within American society in the early national period.