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Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889 Hardcover


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Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889 + The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (Iowa and the Midwest Experience)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; First Printing (Numerals Begin with 1) edition (May 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806141107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806141107
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Dr. Jon K. Lauck is a recognized historian of agriculture in the Middle West, and an author of many original articles on key episodes of South Dakota's history. He has always been impressed by the remarkable set of able, educated, patriotic and religious Civil War Union veterans, who admired Lincoln and initiated and led the ten year statehood movement that led to South Dakota's admission to the Union in 1889.


In his very readable scholarly narrative, he finds that the great influx of South Dakota's farm settlers were largely Anglo-Protestant and from Middle Border states like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, or boasted eastern and New England antecedents linking them to the founders of the American republic. Lauck believes that their dream of an ever-expanding America reflected Frederick Jackson Turner's idealized version of the Old Northwest frontier. Consequently, Lauck was alienated by the approach of the New Western history made famous by Patricia Limerick and others.


Equally important, Lauck describes their initial devotion to their Protestant Christian Church, their conservative politics, their distrust of the corrupt territorial systems, Democrats, Irish Catholics, the gold rush Black Hills, and Northern Dakota's obsession for bonanza farming and railroad promotion. Southeastern Dakota had developed a sense of community based on small scale farming that was truly impressive, in short, a unified political culture.


Prairie Republic is enhanced by superb individual character studies, excerpts from sermons, hymns, delightful anecdotes, all based on exhaustive research in original sources. It is a lasting, major contribution to South Dakota historiography. --Howard R. Lamar, Yale University

About the Author

Jon K. Lauck is Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator John Thune of South Dakota. An attorney and a professional historian, Lauck is the author of several books, including The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History (University of Iowa Press, 2013), and Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889 (OUP, 2010).


More About the Author

Jon K. Lauck grew up in South Dakota and earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Iowa and his law degree from the University of Minnesota. He is interested in the history, culture, economics, and politics of the American Midwest and in American and European history more generally.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
GREAT Book!! My husband has nearly read from cover to cover. Loves history-type books such as this & has been completely intrigued by it from the first page! A must read if you like history & all it has to offer!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kimball Girl on May 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my brother and he went out and bought ten copies to give to family members. It really has been a hit in our family and really tells the story of SD well.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Senator Larry Pressler (Ret.) on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We need more scholarly histories in South Dakota because we do not have extensive graduate schools of History in South Dakota. Therefore, this well researched, scholarly book on the history of South Dakota from 1879-1889 is most welcome. It is more than just a South Dakota history, it is a look at a period in our national history with a focus on the political culture of the Dakota territory from 1879-1889.

Professor Lauck wrestles with Frederick Jackson Turner's theories on westward expansion. He also deals with the myth of the left leaning populists developing in South Dakota when in fact, it was more of a Republican culture at that time. He also deals very carefully with some of Bishop Marty's papers and talks about the Catholic-Protestant development in South Dakota. This is a national history book in the sense that he deals with the presidential campaigns and presidents and what they said about South Dakota.

Professor Lauck received a fellowship from Yale University's Beinecke Library to do part of his research and he has several new South Dakota sources. This is one of the best professionally researched and written books on South Dakota history that I have ever seen and I am very grateful for it.

U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD)(Ret.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Al on February 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This was a very well researched and well written book on the social and political culture of Dakota territory in the ten years leading up to statehood. It should be noted that the book is primarily centered on eastern Dakota territory. One of the reviewers on this site stated that Lauck was reading his sources romantically, and mistaking political rhetoric for popular opinion and values. I strongly disagree. In reading the end notes, it is at once apparent that Lauck extensively researched his thesis. He did not rely on political speeches, but extensively used personal memoirs, letters and journals, as well as statistical analysis, especially in analyzing demographic participation in the three constitutional conventions in 1883, 1885 and 1889. The book was very well balanced, as shown by his exploration of anti-Catholic attitudes during the Grant administration. Chapter 5 is a fascinating historiographical essay and should be used as a guide for the material which he explored in previous chapters. In chapter 5, Lauck explores the research, background and writing of Lamar's groundbreaking work, Dakota Territory. Lauck dissects the anti-Turner agenda which was prevelant among New West scholars in the 1950's, and how this heavily influenced modern progressive and leftist researchers more recently. He also explores the influences on Lamar, as well as how Lamar's views changed over the years until he was at odds with the modern progressive scholarship. In the epilogue, Lauck presents convincing evidence of the "social capital" built up during this decade in the 19th century which still exists in eastern South Dakota today.Read more ›
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