A Companion to the American West by William Deverell

By William Deverell

A significant other to the yank West is a rigorous, illuminating creation to the heritage of the yank West. Twenty-five essays by way of specialist students synthesize the simplest and such a lot provocative paintings within the box and supply a entire evaluate of subject matters and historiography.

  • Covers the tradition, politics, and surroundings of the yankee West via classes of migration, payment, and modernization
  • Discusses local americans and their conflicts and integration with American settlers

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Sample text

The United States, that is, entered the West in the middle of an imperial scramble that has barely begun to be explored historically. Once we pull ourselves out of the “triumphalist” perspective that assumes a momentum of events toward an American empire, the need for a far deeper investigation of the global maneuvering and domestic politics entwined in these early explorations is obvious. Donald Jackson’s earlier Thomas Jefferson and the Stony Mountains (1981) and Ronda’s more recent edited collection, Voyages of Discovery: Essays on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1998), point the way, but they also make it embarrassingly clear that historians must spend more time in the extraordinarily deep archives of Spain, Mexico, England, France and (now that the Cold War has turned somewhat sunny) Russia.

Smith’s jingoistic The War With Mexico (1919), which placed responsibility for the conflict squarely on an aggressive and obstinate Mexico and portrayed United States officials as concerned almost wholly with defending the newly acquired Texas. It is a case lesson in how a historian can examine all available documents and still be wrong. A more balanced view began to emerge with Norman Graebner’s Empire on the Pacific (1955), which shifted our attention to the Pacific coast and to the agrarian and commercial hunger for land and ports; his book remains a challenge to scholars to look back more closely at how those desires had developed up to 1846.

Both Spanish and British officials also entered into secret talks with western the making of the first american west 19 leaders in hopes of detaching all or part of the trans-Appalachian territory from the United States. Weak as its national government was and discontented as its western citizens were, the United States possessed a great and growing advantage over its imperial rivals and its Indian antagonists: numbers. In the 1790s, the American population topped four million, having doubled every twenty-five years during the eighteenth century.

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