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PREFACE

IT
T has been the hope of the author to call atten-

tion to the fertile field which lies at the beginning of Michigan's history as an agricultural commonwealth under American institutions. So far from being exhaustive, this treatise is but an introduction to the subject. Many of its topics could be expanded into useful monographs. For example, the War of 1812 in relation to the Michigan frontier is here but lightly touched upon; the succeeding financial crisis—especially in relation to other factors causing emigration from the eastern states—the dissemination of knowledge about Michigan in the East and abroad, the several land and Indian questions, the rise of lake commerce, and many other subjects equally obviousall would yield richly to the research of the patient student.

The place of the monograph will be clear in the light of previous works on Michigan. The books that have appeared hitherto are very general accounts in which economic and social factors are incidental; here, as the leading title is intended to suggest, we are concerned only with those facts which bear directly upon the beginnings of Michigan's economic and social history.

And if we except the fur trade, the period of Michigan Territory is well within those beginnings. Before then the spirit of the French period was unfavorable to the advance of agriculture. The fur trader wished the forests to stand to protect the fur-bearing animals; the missionary wished the frontier distant to preserve his Indian converts from the influence of the white settlements; in the paternalism and militarism of that period there was little room for popular activity through local civil institutions; and there was little immigration and permanent home-building; after more than a century of French occupation only a few hundred families had been planted in the whole of the southern peninsula, mainly at one point, and these families were interested principally in the fur trade. The periods of British and early American occupation were not essentially different. It was the opinion of Major John Biddle, who was at the head of the Detroit Land Office during most of the Territorial period, that “as an American community, founding its prosperity upon the permanent resources of its own industry, Michigan may date its origin in 1818.1" This was an interpretation by a man of practical affairs speaking near the close of the Territorial period from the viewpoint of the tremendous impulse given to the development of agriculture, industry and commerce by the opening of public land sales at Detroit and the beginning of steam navigation on the Great Lakes.

The close of Michigan's Territorial history marks also the close of a quite distinct economic period. The years preceding 1837 saw such unprecedented acceleration of economic growth and prosperity, and the stagnation of all activities following the financial crisis of 1. Historical and Scientific Sketches of Michigan (Detroit,

1834), 163.

1837 was so general and complete, that these years are marked off distinctly from all that followed.

The author has employed the somewhat vague term "settlement” to indicate the process by which an immigrant population adjusts itself to a new environment. The factors in this process, as here considered, may be gathered into four groups, which while they blend into one another, are fairly distinguishable and correspond approximately to four phases of this adjustment. They center about (1) governmental aids, (2) immigration, (3) active pioneering and (4) institutional growth. The first group involves the military protection of the frontier, the extinguishing of Indian titles, the surveying of lands, the establishment of land offices, the regulation of land sales, the organizing of counties and townships, and the improvement of facilities for transportation. The second group concerns the sources of population—why people left their old homes, why they came to Michigan, how they reached Michigan, and the qualities, habits and ideals which they brought with them. A third group relates to clearing the forest, cutting roads, breaking the lands, building homes and villages, and establishing the local institutions of community life. A fourth group deals with subsequent growth, when with immigrants still coming in great numbers, institutions began to take on a permanent character; here are noted the checks and stimuli of institutional growth and the comparative rate and amount of growth in different periods, the relative tendencies to village and city life, and the concentration of rural population, the interaction of rural and urban growth, especially with reference to improvements in transportation, and the distinguishing features of large centers of population.

The first two chapters are introductory. Chapter I gives a general survey of the geologic and physical conditions which affected the economic development of the Territory as a whole. Chapter II treats the essential checks and stimuli other than these. Together they should help to unify the chapters that follow.

The subsequent chapters are based mainly upon those physiographic agents which influenced the time, rate, amount and distribution of population. The part of the Territory affected by immigration before 1837 appears to divide naturally on this basis into a half dozen settlement areas. First, there are the counties of Monroe, Wayne, Macomb and St. Clair which have many common physical features, the earliest lands to be settled by the French-Canadians and by settlers from eastern states. Oakland, Washtenaw and Lenawee were the first inland counties to receive immigrants and each represents a great line of immigration along which population moved to the interior, respectively northwest to the Saginaw country, west to the valleys of the Kalamazoo and Grand rivers, and to the St. Joseph country in southwestern Michigan. Each of the four river valleys, the St. Joseph, the Kalamazoo, the Saginaw and the Grand, make a natural area of settlement. The concluding chapters deal with the sources and character of the new population and present a brief resume.

The author can of course claim no more for the accuracy of the results than is warranted by the nature of the materials with which some parts of the work have

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