Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jose A. Brandao


This dissertation examines various types of land use practices and settlement patterns from the end of the French era through statehood at Detroit, the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Joseph River Valley. In addition, this work describes a series of land ordinances, treaties, land office practices and acts and demonstrates how they shaped, or tried to shape, the ways people viewed the land and what they did with it. Michigan is an excellent case study for analyzing land use because it was the point of interaction among three distinct cultural and political groups, French, British and American, and each of those groups viewed land and land use differently. The French tended to settle the land lightly, focusing on trace, Indian alliances and missionary activity. The British constructed and expanded fortifications in an attempt to hold onto the land and the Americans focused on migration and agriculture. This dissertation's conclusion is that at each site local conditions, while influenced by French, British and American land laws, played roles in determining how residents would shape the landscape.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

History Commons