Detroit's Transformation into an Atlantic Entrepôt
In Frontier Seaport, Catherine Cangany details this seldom-discussed chapter of Detroit’s history. She argues that by the time of the American Revolution, Detroit functioned much like a coastal town as a result of the prosperous fur trade, serving as a critical link in a commercial chain that stretched all the way to Russia and China—thus opening Detroit’s shores for eastern merchants and other transplants. This influx of newcomers brought its own transatlantic networks and fed residents’ desires for popular culture and manufactured merchandise. Detroit began to be both a frontier town and seaport city—a mixed identity, Cangany argues, that hindered it from becoming a thoroughly “American” metropolis.
Introduction: “The Appearance of the Settlement Is Very Smiling”
1. “In Time This City Will Become Conspicuous”: The Development of Non-Fur-Trade Commerce
2. “The Inhabitants Are Well Supplied with Provisions of Every Description”
3. “Altogether Preferable to Shoes”: The Fashioning of Moccasins
4. “Detroit, Politically . . . Remains . . . an Isolated Moral Mass”
5. “Advisable to Improve the Arrangement of the Town”: Rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1805
6. “Sinister Conduct”: The Pervasion of Staples Smuggling
Epilogue: “Exceedingly Well Situated for a Commercial Port”
North American Society for Oceanic History: John Lyman Book Prize (NASOH)
HM in category of "US Maritime History"