Westward expansion the Frontier Thesis

Topics: American Old West, Cowboy, United States Pages: 2 (221 words) Published: December 15, 2014
Westward expansion
1. What national issues emerged in the process of closing the western frontier?
2. Why does the West hold such an important place in the American imagination?
3. In what ways is the West romanticized in American culture?

Key Tensions
Native Americans   Buffalo Hunters, Railroads, U.S. Government Cattlemen   Sheepherders
Ranchers   Farmers
Ethnic Minorities   Nativists
Conservationists   Big Business Interests [mining, timber], Local Govt. Officials, Farmers, Buffalo Hunters Lawlessness of the Frontier   “Civilizing” Forces, Women, professionals [The “Romance” of the West]

The Railroad Builders
Railroad Construction: trains had places to be on time; the creation of time zones “The Big Four” Railroad Magnates: Charles Croker, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, & Leland Stanford; these men took a gamble (would they ever be rich?); Union Pacific railroad;

The Cowboys
The Bronc Buster by Frederick Remington
Black Cowboys

The Gunslingers
Colt .45 Revolver: “God didn’t make men equal. Colonel Colt did!” Legendary Gunslingers & Train Robbers: Jesse James, Billy the Kid Dodge City Peace Commission, 1890

The Miners
Prospecting:
Mining Boomtowns--Now Ghost Towns: Calico, CA

The Cattlemen & the Sheepherders
The Cattle Trails
New Agricultural Technology: “Prairie Fan” Water Pump & Steel Plow [“Sodbuster”] Barbed Wire: Joseph Glidden
The Range Wars – Sheepherders vs. Cattle Ranchers

Minority groups in the West

The Farmers

The Plains Indians

The Myth & Legend of the West

What were the long-term effects of the westwards experience?
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