"Territorial Ambition: Land and Society in Arkansas, 1800-1840"
Both modern historians and early nineteenth-century observers have emphasized the wild and picturesque aspects in the Arkansas Territory, suggesting that the settlers here were more preoccupied with indolence or brawling than with economic progress. This study, first published in 1993, demonstrates that despite all its frontier roughness, Arkansas was characterized by a restless ambition that transformed the area from frontier and subsistence living to a highly productive agricultural society. This ambition - with its brutal Indian removal and expansion of slave labor- rendered Arkansas more similar to its southern neighbors than conventional portrayals would make it seem.
S. Charles Bolton is emeritus professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.