In this succinct dual biography, Laura Chmielewski demonstrates how the lives of two French explorers – Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary, and Louis Jolliet, a fur trapper – reveal the diverse world of early America. Following the explorers' epic journey through the center of the American continent, Marquette and Jolliet combines a story of discovery and encounter with the insights derived from recent historical scholarship. The story provides perspective on the different methods and goals of colonization and the role of Native Americans as active participants in this complex and uneven process.
- Introduces students to the idea of competing empires in North America, showing how France's activities in North America were important and different from more familiar English colonization
- Expands students' understanding of early American history beyond the eastern seaboard and the thirteen colonies to include the Midwest and Gulf of Mexico
- Shows the rich and complex nature of encounters between European explorers and Native Americans
- Incorporates concepts from recent scholarship on early America into a form that is easy for students to grasp; biographical framework makes the narrative accessible
- Will be of particular interest at colleges in Canada, the U.S. Midwest and Great Lakes region, and at Jesuit institutions