Indiana History

Native Americans in Indiana

From the period of French trading in the 17th century to the removals of the early 19th century, the life of the Native Americans was dominated by one central theme - the growing conflict of cultures. As nomads of the woodlands, prairies, and plains, they occupied wide expanses of land where they hunted, fished, and preserved their cultural heritage. With the coming of the white man, however, Indian society and culture were threatened.

Scene on the Wabash - by George Winter

Travel and Transportation

Early 19th-century America was a rapidly expanding nation and its people becoming a highly mobile population, pushing further west into newly opened lands. The future of America depended upon its ability to construct a network of reliable transportation systems that connected the small villages to the centers of commerce, manufacture, and trade.

Conestoga Wagon

Western Immigration

Early settlers realized that the advancement of their civilization was dependent upon a continuous supply of mobile humans who were willing to pack their belongings and their families, relocate to another part of the continent, transplant their culture, and resume life in a new environment.

Western Immigration

Women and the Law in Early 19th Century

A woman's gender and marital status were the primary determinants of her legal standing in Indiana and much of America from 1800 to 1850. By custom and law she did not enjoy all of the rights of citizenship. In the legal realm women were decidedly dependent, subservient, and unequal.

Women Law 19th Century

Clothing of the 1830s

Clothing the family of the 1830s was an important task, and most of the work was the responsibility of the women. Every stitch of the sewing had to be done by hand; Elias Howe didn't even invent the sewing machine until 1846, and Isaac Singer's version didn't come about until 1850.

Clothing in the 1830s

Politics of the 1870s and 1880s

At no other time was the citizen’s interest in elections and politics more avid than during the later period of the 19th century. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of the eligible voters consistently voted in local and national elections.

US map

Lives of Women

Pulling against the traditions of domestic life was a sense of urgency and progress so evident in the geographical, industrial, technological and political changes affecting the country, that women could not help but see opportunities for themselves in this growth.

Lives of Women