Publication Date

April 2017

Advisor(s)

Jeffers Lennox

Major

American Studies, History

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis will argue that the neutrality of the Acadian people and the Iroquois Confederacy was a diplomatic expression that both groups creatively performed and negotiated in order to preserve autonomy from the imperial powers who sought dominion over them. Often, tensions arose between the neutrality that the Acadians and Iroquois declared, and the imperial reception of that neutrality: affirmative declarations usually reflected complex agendas, while imperial rejections tended to denude all nuance. In negotiations with the British Empire, both the Acadians and the Iroquois pursued autonomy by claiming to be neutral entities, a political stance that British officials tolerated when times were good, and criminalized when times were bad. In advocating for neutrality, these two groups claimed independence from the French and British empires. The history here told reanimates a wider spectrum of political life in eighteenth-century North America by focusing on the experiences of two groups who tread ground between imperial rivals.

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