The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000 Page: 394
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for the specialist in the field, although it will prove informative and interesting
to any novice interested in this subject. Jay Brigham has established himself as an
expert in this field. One looks forward to further works on this and other rele-
vant subjects from him in the future
Southwest Texas Junior College STEPHEN M. KERBOW
Arkansas, x8oo-z86o: Remote and Restless. By S. Charles Bolton. (Fayetteville:
University of Arkansas Press, 1998. Pp. xvi+2o7. Foreword, introduction,
illustrations, suggested reading, index. ISBN 1-55728-518-7. $28.oo00,
Previous works on Arkansas history have perpetuated the view that the state
and its people were out of pace with American society. S. Charles Bolton seeks to
correct this injustice. Bolton adopts a topical approach through time to under-
stand better the critical issues that defined Arkansas from 18oo to 186o. He
tackles the settlement process of the state, economic development, problems
with the Indian frontier, religion, westward expansion, slavery, and secession
from the Union. Through each of these topics, Bolton attempts to chip away at
the negative exceptionalism that has plagued the state and prove instead that
Arkansans were not lazy or over-industrious, but on the whole personified the
rest of the country. The political opportunities, rivalries, violence, and the using
of office for private gain, for example, all stemmed from a larger national cul-
ture. There existed a politics of personality, honor, violence, and connections-
a true southern hippodrome. The author is at his best here in revealing the init-
mate relationship between politics and ambition through land grabbing, a
process that benefited primarily the skilled politicians of Arkansas.
Confronting economic change, Bolton argues that the market revolution was
slow in coming to Arkansas because transportation lagged and the banking sys-
tem failed in the 1840s. Nevertheless, economic growth resulted from cotton
production. This, however, put planters and farmers at the mercy of financiers
outside the state.
In dealing with frontier problems, the author does an excellent job of reveal-
ing the political conflict between Native Americans, the state and federal offi-
cials that centered around disputed land claims, a controversy that undermined
Native American property rights. Despite the political violence and impair, the
numerous religious denominations in Arkansas provided a semblance of moral
stability for the state by keeping the Sabbath day legally holy and giving birth to
Slavery and slaveholding practices also existed as an extension of the South.
The author reveals the tactics that slaveholders used to keep slaves in place and
argues that while slaves had few opportunities open to them, they did, individu-
ally and collectively, create a culture for themselves. Slaves living in small
groups on isolated farms, he argues, did not have the benefit of the plantation
slave culture. Looking west, Bolton argues that racism and economics condi-
tioned and drove manifest destiny. Texas, he asserts, played a major role in the
scheme of manifest destiny. For the most part, however, Arkansans throughout
the nineteenth century did not look favorably upon Texas, especially after
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000, periodical, 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/m1/440/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.