Massachusetts Historical Society


A Renegades’ History of the Revolutionary Frontier: Contesting Race & Nation on the Borderlands of the New United States


Author: John William Nelson, Texas Tech University
Comment: Robert G. Parkinson, Binghamton University

This is an online event.

This paper will explore the so-called “white renegades” who cast their lot with Native peoples amid the Revolutionary War on the frontier. By following the personal histories of some of these individuals to Fallen Timbers—where many found themselves in 1794—we can trace how these people continued to subvert cultural boundaries, even as racial divisions became more entrenched through policy and practice during the early republic. In reconstructing their lives, we can begin to conceptualize the multifaceted motivations that led men and women to challenge the hardening divisions developing between white Americans and Indigenous communities during the Revolutionary era.

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