Borderland Theory as a Conceptual Framework for Comparative Local US and Canadian History
Claire Parham
Siena College, Loudonville, New York, USA.
DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2013.22013   PDF    HTML     5,003 Downloads   8,493 Views   Citations


My book From Great Wilderness to Seaway Towns: A Comparative History of Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York, 1784-2001 compared the two towns at different historical moments from 1784 to 2001 by utilizing Oscar Martinez’s borderland theory and argued that the shared experiences of Cornwall and Massena’s residents based on their borderland locations lead them to follow comparable patterns of social and economic development. As former American colonists, both area residents wanted to develop towns identical to their former communities. The founders of Cornwall and Massena and their descendants, therefore, challenged national values and beliefs and developed a distinctive society and culture of their own. In contrast to Seymour Lipset who argued that the organizing principles made the two countries different, my research suggests that Louis Hartz was closer to the mark when he stated “the differences between the two countries are less significant than the traits common to both.” To determine the how the lives of Massena and Cornwall residents’ lives were affected by their border locations, I highlighted key events and experiences that caused these men and women to develop common values and beliefs and adhered to the methodology of local historians.


Canada; US Local

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Parham, C. (2013). Borderland Theory as a Conceptual Framework for Comparative Local US and Canadian History. Advances in Historical Studies, 2, 94-104. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2013.22013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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