South Dakota Nice

Jon Lauck reads from Prairie Republic:The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879-1889–Sunday, August 22, 4:00pm, at M&Q.
American democratic ideals, civic republicanism, public morality, and Christianity were the dominant forces at work during South Dakota’s formative decade. Taking Dakota Territory as a laboratory for examining a formative stage of western politics, Lauck artuges that settlers from New England and the Midwest brought democratic practices and republican values to the northern plains and invoked them as guiding principles in the drive for South Dakota statehood. Prairie Republic corrects an overemphasis on class conflict and economic determinism. Lauck finds South Dakota’s political founders to be agents of Protestant Christianity and of civic republicanism–an age-old ideology that entrusted the polity to independent, landowning citizens who placed the common interest above private interest.

In rescuing the story of Dakota’s settlers from historical obscurity, Prairie Republic corrects darker portrayals of western history and expands our understanding of the American democratic tradition.

Details are here.–David E