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River of Enterprise: The Commercial Origins of Regional Identity in the Ohio Valley, 1790-1850 Hardcover – September 10, 2002
"[F]ocusing on the Ohio River’s significance as a commercial artery and on the important role merchants played in linking the region with the wider market economy, Kim M. Gruenwald argues that commercial 'connections' and 'patterns of integration' with the larger nation took place long before a plethora of abolitionists and steamboats divided the region... an important book." ―Enterprise & Society
"Regional histories of the Ohio River Valley often reflect traditional interpretations of the postrevolutionary era that emphasize westward expansion and the division of the nation over slavery (the Northwest Ordinance, 1787), with the beautiful Ohio serving to dissect a free labor North from a slaveholding South. Gruenwald (Kent State Univ.) takes issue with these interpretations, asserting that [t]his study seeks to explain the changing meaning and role of the Ohio River in the lives of three generations of valley settlers..., which over time helped to create a regional identity [having little to do with North or South] in the West on both banks as Americans strove to create an empire based upon the ties of commerce. As commerce and farming grew and trade increased, industries thrived, with a new form of transportation superseding water-linked travel. It was only then, well into the 19th century, that the Ohio [served] as the boundary between North and South. This meticulously written work is for all with interests in early national history. It might be read alongside Andro Linklater's Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy (2002). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic libraries." ―P. D. Travis, Texas Woman's University, Choice, May 2003
About the Author
Kim M. Gruenwald is Assistant Professor of History at Kent State University.