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).