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James K. Paulding (1778-1860) was an American author, a dramatist, and a public official who is remembered for his engagement of Native American subjects in his work.

Paulding began by writing satires on local figures, and then authored more nationalistic works that targeted the British during and after the War of 1812. He also later wrote of the hardships and triumphs of western settlement. His 1830 play, "Lion of the West," starred Nimrod Wildfire, a character who was based on Davy Crockett. Wildfire (and Crockett, his real-life counterpart) provided audiences with a sort of anti-European hero whose physical strength could defeat the pretensions of his neighbors. The play was wildly popular, elevating Crockett's reputation and character to legendary status. Paulding employed a plain style that was infused with a sense of irony characteristic of contemporary writers.

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