William Bergmann (History) was selected as the winner of the Allen Nevins Prize in American Economic History for his dissertation titled "Commerce and Arms: The Federal Government, Native Americans, and the Economy of the Old Northwest, 1783-1807." The prize is awarded annually by the Economic History Association on behalf of Columbia University Press for the best dissertation in U.S. or Canadian economic history completed during the previous year. Bergmann's dissertation argues that the federal government played a critical role in bringing the market economy to the Old Northwest during the period following the Revolution through the War of 1812.
He wrote, "By the 1780s, settlers moved west in the Ohio Valley hoping to transplant a market economy in the West. When they did, they chaffed against a fur-trading economy controlled by Native Americans. A property war raged as settlers and Native Americans fought for control of the regional economy until 1794, when the U.S. military defeated the northern confederacy. During the ensuing detente, the United States constructed roads to facilitate settlement and trade, and spent money to assimilate Native Americans into its economy. By 1807, an emergent Native American millennialist movement rejected the expanding American economy, but the defeat of the confederacy in the War of 1812 removed regional economic control from the hands of Native Americans."