The Formative Period in Alabama, 1815-1828 is a beautifully crafted history of the evolution of the state written by Thomas Perkins Abernethy in 1922. The work shows how Alabama grew out of the Mississippi Territory and discusses the economic and political development during the years just before and just after Alabama became a state.
Abernethy’s story begins when Alabama existed as the eastern part of the Mississippi Territory, settled primarily by Cherokees, Choctaws, and Creeks, a few traders, and some brave but foolhardy “squatters” who thought to supplant the Indians and carve out a home for themselves and their descendants from Indian territory. Friction with the Creeks escalated into war and, with their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the successful move began to wrest land from the Indians for white settlement. The availability of good land, the promise of transportation of goods along the waterways, and the opening of the Federal Road brought rapid population growth to an area blessed (and cursed) with forceful leaders. Abernethy describes in detail the political maneuverings and economic strangleholds that created territorial division and turmoil in the early days of Alabama’s statehood.
A reprint of Abernethy's excellent historical study of the state of Tennesse from its founding through the antebellum years. In documenting the development of an agrarian society on the frontier, Abernethy develops important and controversial theses on the relation between frontier life and the development of American democracy, calling into question the mythology and motives previously associated with leaders such as William Blount, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson.