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Building an American EmpireThe Era of Territorial and Political Expansion$
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Paul Frymer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166056

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166056.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Building an American Empire

Paul Frymer

Princeton University Press

This book examines the imperial aspirations and geographic expansion of the United States over the long nineteenth century, with emphasis on the process of state formation and political development. It analyzes the concerns and actions of federal policy makers in promoting the formation of national borders through territorial expansion, as well as the ultimate settlement and incorporation of lands on the frontier. In particular, it considers how federal land policies were used to regulate population movements across the territory. The book argues that the building of an American empire was a project of population control and settlement, aided primarily by land policy. This chapter provides an overview of the contested and multifaceted nature of American expansion, how this expansionist project relates to race and state formation, and the politics of population control. It also presents a summary of the chapters that follow.

Keywords:   territorial expansion, United States, state formation, political development, race, the frontier, American empire, population control, settlement, federal land policies

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