Adventurism and Empire

The Struggle for Mastery in the Louisiana-Florida Borderlands, 1762-1803

By David Narrett

392 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 18 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3603-0
    Published: August 2017
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-1833-3
    Published: March 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1834-0
    Published: March 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4455-2
    Published: March 2015

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
In this expansive book, David Narrett shows how the United States emerged as a successor empire to Great Britain through rivalry with Spain in the Mississippi Valley and Gulf Coast. As he traces currents of peace and war over four critical decades--from the close of the Seven Years War through the Louisiana Purchase--Narrett sheds new light on individual colonial adventurers and schemers who shaped history through cross-border trade, settlement projects involving slave and free labor, and military incursions aimed at Spanish and Indian territories.

Narrett examines the clash of empires and nationalities from diverse perspectives. He weighs the challenges facing Native Americans along with the competition between Spanish, French, British, and U.S. interests. In a turbulent era, the Louisiana and Florida borderlands were shaken by tremors from the American Revolutionary War and the French Revolution. By demonstrating pervasive intrigue and subterfuge in borderland rivalries, Narrett shows that U.S. Manifest Destiny was not a linear or inevitable progression. He offers a fresh interpretation of how events in the Louisiana and Florida borderlands altered the North American balance of power, and affected the history of the Atlantic world.

Published in association with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

About the Author

David Narrett is professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington.
For more information about David Narrett, visit the Author Page.


“[A] thoughtful and meticulous book. . . . Required reading for scholars of eighteenth-century North American history.”--Journal of American History

“Well researched, clearly argued, crisply written, and, in addition, entertaining.”--American Historical Review

“Narrett demonstrates a masterful understanding of the complicated and unpredictable course of events that contributed to the United States’ ultimate acquisition of this region.”--H-Net Reviews

"[Narrett] used extensive archival collections and published primary and secondary sources to produce this well-done study. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"Impressively researched. . . . A work that all specialists on the subject will savor and mine for further insights. . . . Does a masterful job of tracing the twists and turns of the various diplomatic and cultural alliances that were formed throughout the borderlands."--Florida Historical Quarterly

“[Narrett] provides a compelling narrative that deserves the attention of historians of the early American South and of borderlands more generally.”

--Journal of Military History