Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Paul Mapp


The Assertion of Federal Authority Reflected Through the Correspondence of Henry Knox The University of Virginia’s Rotunda Founding Era Collection contains more than 700 letters written by Henry Knox to other government officials during his time as War Secretary. A perusal of these letters reveals a man thinking in imperial ways for the early American republic. Knox’s actions sought the creation of an ambitious American empire. The correspondence reveals how both the Constitution’s ratification and rising pan-Indian fear generated US support for an American imperial state that could sustain an army to oppose both Indian and European ambitions. Knox’s letters also reveal that the creation of an American empire came at the expense of Indian nations. The letters also illustrate the disputed sovereignty that existed in the territories among the US, Indian, and European powers, creating a precarious environment where war with Indian nations and European powers was a constant possibility. To prevent war, Knox often had to negotiate authority with settlers living in the territories, not only with territory militias and local officials, but with federally-appointed officials as well. The Influence of Southwest Territory Land Claims on Delegate Support for the Ratification of the US Constitution in North Carolina In 1788-1789, many North Carolinians held claims to land in what would become the Southwest Territory. Did this claimed territory and westward orientation influence the vote of ratification delegates? Using the North Carolina Land Grant database to search for the names of all 448 delegates to North Carolina’s US Constitution ratification conventions in Fayetteville and Hillsborough reveals that the percentage differences between those delegates with land claims in the Southwest Territory who supported ratification and those who opposed it, do not seem to indicate that land claims in the Southwest Territory were a major influence on delegate voting behavior North Carolina’s two ratification conventions.



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