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The Bourgeois FrontierFrench Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion$
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Jay Gitlin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300101188

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300101188.001.0001

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How the West Was Sold

How the West Was Sold

(p.68) 4 How the West Was Sold
The Bourgeois Frontier

Jay Gitlin

Yale University Press

After the War of 1812, St. Louis emerged as a clearinghouse for regional settlement and a route to the Far West—especially New Mexico and the Upper Missouri. It also became the center of the nation's defense business and occupied a central position on western transportation routes. The city's merchants controlled the western fur trade, which remained the principal enterprise of the Chouteau family until the 1840s. However, the nature of the business changed dramatically after the war, in part due to the rise of two powerful companies that drove out or absorbed smaller enterprises and exercised an ever-increasing amount of control over the business: John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company and Pierre Chouteau Jr. and Company. The American Fur Company was eventually bought out by Chouteau. A look at the careers of several francophone merchants in Indiana offers clues on francophone merchants based on the story of the Chouteaus.

Keywords:   fur trade, War of 1812, St. Louis, Far West, New Mexico, Upper Missouri, merchants, Chouteau family, American Fur Company, Indiana

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