Introduction: Explaining Early America
The book’s Introduction briefly discusses the historical problem of understanding the history of early America, a problem which has been complicated by the still strongly held notion (in both public perception and in some academic circles) of an American historical exceptionalism. It sketches recent historiographical developments and scholarly trends, and it introduces historian David Day’s notion of a supplanting society. It presents the book’s main idea: early American history is a central part of—rather than an exception to—the emerging global histories of imperialism, colonialism, and genocide. It also presents its main argument: early American history is best understood as the story of a supplanting society, a society intent on a land grab of Indigenous space and driven by a logic of elimination and a genocidal imperative to rid the new settler living space of its existing Indigenous inhabitants.