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In this expansive book, David Narrett shows how the United States emerged as a successor empire to Great Britain through rivalry with Spain in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast. As he traces currents of peace and war over four critical decades--from the close of the Seven Years War through the Louisiana Purchase--Narrett sheds new light on individual colonial adventurers and schemers who shaped history through cross-border trade, settlement projects involving slave and free labor, and military incursions into Spanish and Indian territories.

Narrett examines the clash of empires and nationalities from the diverse perspectives of Native Americans and of the competing Spanish, French, British, and Anglo-American forces. In a time of great transition, the Louisiana and Florida frontiers were enmeshed in turbulent international politics and experienced tremors from both the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution. By demonstrating the pervasiveness of intrigue and subterfuge in borderland rivalries and showing that U.S. Manifest Destiny was not a linear or inevitable progression, Narrett redefines the important role these North American borderlands had in shaping the history of the Atlantic world.

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