What is the nature of secession? Is it a symbol of failed communication or an effective method of civil discourse. Is it an action of the powerless and desperate, or can it be powerful and legitimate tool of dispossessed citizens? And, if secession is invoked by a community, on what grounds can it claim success? We hope that all of these questions arise in the mind of those who visit this site and that the tale of McDonald Territory provides can provide some answers or at least encourage discussion. McDonald Territory is certainly unique in its place among the many “failed” secessionist movements across human history, but its brief and peaceful existence provides a interesting commentary on the responsibility of citizens to protect democratic representation through any means possible, but the means need not always be violent or wholly political in nature.
You will find on this site information on the rising tourist industry in the Ozarks during the early to mid-twentieth century and how the U.S. highway system was vital to this. Various state policies that concerned the tourist flow in McDonald County and created tensions will be explored, from the increase in state funded parks to changes in the federal highway system during the fifties. On this site you will also find the primary cause of the McDonald County secession on our “Family Vacationland” Crisis page.
On this site, we discuss the seriousness of the McDonald Provisional Government that was established at the time as well as the correspondence between the McDonald Territory and other counties and states. Finally, we will explore the methods of reconciliation that took place between McDonald County and the State of Missouri and analyze whether or not this extreme form of civil discourse was necessary, effective, and achieved legitimacy in the eyes of the State of Missouri.
We would also like to to acknowledge the many people and organizations that made this website possible. Thank you to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges for organizing the semester long course that produced this website. It is important to understand that research can be presented in many ways and that a visual format may provide a nuanced and personal understanding of history that the written word may not be able to supply. We hope that this site has done so for out visitors. Thank you as well to Dr. Mary Beth Mathews and Dr. Kenneth Owen for guiding throughout the creation of this website. We would also like to voice our appreciation for our fellow students for their support and the fun times that we had during class. Please visit their sites as well when you have the opportunity. There was a lot of talent and hard work that went into making them, visiting them will certainly be worth your time. And finally, we want to thank Lynn Tatum and the McDonald County Historical Society for all of the support and help that was shown to us. Many of the photographs and documents on this page came from their archives. If you are at all interested in Missouri history or wish to explore McDonald Territory on your own, please visit their website, linked in the footer on every page, or visit Pineville, Missouri yourself. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, happy researching!