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The Great Frontier

Freedom and Hierarchy in Modern Times

William Hardy McNeill

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


A leading American historian examines the character of the frontiers of European expansion throughout the modern age, questioning a notion of frontier freedom popular since Turner. William McNeill argues that social hierarchy characterized the frontier more often than pioneer equality. As Europeans traveled to various lands, bringing new diseases to vulnerable natives, formerly isolated populations died in great numbers, creating an "open" frontier where labor was scarce. European efforts to develop frontier areas involved either a radical leveling of the hierarchies common in Europe itself or, alternatively, their sharp reinforcement by resort to slavery, serfdom, peonage, and indentured labor.
Juxtaposing national and transnational experiences and illuminating the complex interchange of peoples (and illnesses) in the modern era, Professor McNeill brings the history of the United States into perspective as an example of a process that encircled the globe. His book clarifies both the experience of the global frontier and the processes that now mark the end of hundreds of year of expansion of the European center.
William H. McNeill is Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor of History at the University of Chicago. His numerous books include The Rise of the West (Chicago); Plagues and Peoples (Doubleday); and The Human Condition (Princeton).

Originally published in 1983.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Weitere Titel von diesem Autor
William Hardy McNeill
William Hardy McNeill



Shortage, Imperial Government, Russian Mennonite, Anarchy, Latin America, Society of the United States, New Nation (United States), Australian gold rushes, Coolie, Conquistador, Cultivator, Mark Twain, Soviet Union, American Revolutionary War, Social transformation, Civilization, Tribe, Tropical Africa, World War I, Serfdom, Frontier, Coureur des bois, Unfree labour, Pilgrim Fathers, Involuntary servitude, Leonard J. Arrington, World War II, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Paulistas, Steamship, Colonization, Marxism, Boer, Abolitionism, Demobilization, Life on the Mississippi, Tax, Pogrom, Andean civilizations, Diphtheria, British Empire, Transport and Communication (constituency), Famine, Mennonite, Berthold Laufer, Hinterland, Historiography, Napoleonic Wars, The Contact Zone (theoretical concept), Frontier Thesis, Agriculture, Fur trade, Colonialism, Indentured servant, Peon, John Jacob Astor, Superiority (short story), China, Social class, White supremacy, Agriculture (Chinese mythology), Hunter-gatherer, American Historical Association, Western Europe, Paddy field, Louis Hartz, Pre-Columbian era, Walter Prescott Webb, Social structure, White Australia policy, Old World, Maize, Refugee, Great Famine (Ireland), Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, American frontier, Europe, Napoleon, Peasant, Vigilance committee, New Society, Slavery, William H. McNeill (historian), Demography, Atlantic slave trade, North America, Population growth, The Rise of the West, Old Believers, Barbarian, Lecture, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, Americas, Treasure trove, Friedrich Katz, Autarky, Sociocultural evolution, Mestizo, Subsistence economy, Slave ship