Even casual students of Colonial American history are familiar with the Boston Tea Party;  what may be overlooked is the extent to which Pennsylvania is front and center when considering the clashes that helped define America’s founding era.

Patrick Spero, librarian at the American Philosophical Society, joined NewsWorks tonight’s Dave Heller to discuss his new book, “Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania.”

Spero argues that the crux of the imperial crisis on the American frontier in the 1760s was the role of Native American groups within the British Empire. At the time, the empire had an incredible debt built up from various rebellions and the thought of future costly conflicts was unattractive.

“They said, ‘We need them to be trading partners. We need peace on the frontier,” Spero explains. “Colonists had come to a very different view of Native Americans. They saw them through a racial lens. They saw them as enemies.”