John V.H. Dippel

Race to the Frontier:
‘White Flight’ and Westward Expansion

“One of the factors pushing pioneers westward was race. This was particularly so for one of the largest migratory streams to cross the continent--poor, non-slaveholding farmers who came originally from the Upper South. For them, chronically losing out to slave labor in a fluctuating, tobacco-dominated economy was the driving force. Indeed, racial prejudice and unsuccessful competition for jobs were closely related. In order to survive, these “plain folk” farmers had to flee further west... But anti-black bias was not only economically based. Many white settlers--from the North as well as the South--found the presence of blacks socially intolerable--“degrading” and threatening... In the open spaces of the West, these pioneers could create enclaves that would safeguard and preserve their racial identity and unity.”

Selected Works

"Stunningly important and effectively presented." -- David Barash
“The most authoritative, detailed, and gripping account of the climate disaster that struck New England in 1816-17.”
--Gillen D'Arcy, author of "Tambora."
“A thoughtful and sensitive account of a sickness tug-of-war between fear and hope.”
--Times Literary Supplement
“Sheds light on an inexplicable phenomenon.”
--Yad Vashem
"Dippel's eloquent writing is both entertaining and informative. Impeccable research and historical analysis . . . " -- Pacific Northwest Quarterly