jan27th-lecture - Westward Ho The West and American...

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Westward Ho! The West and Amer- ican Identity I. American West as Myth and Symbol A. True “American” Values 1. Ideas about limited government, social progress, social justice 2. Make one’s fortune, remake one’s identity 3. Frontier thesis: tests character and resolve, develop individuality and democratic values B. Symbol of Solution and Hope 1. The Union can resolve problems by integrating both societies in the west 2. US can spread its values regarding Christianity and the economy to the West (modernize the people of the West) 3. Escape from urban corruption II. West and the Making of the American Em- pire A. The West and America after Civil War 1. Question of how can the US resolve itself? 2. Serves as a distraction from the unresolved issue from the end of Re- construction 3. Ex-soldiers move out West to start anew (ex: most protagonists in Western films are ex-Confederate soldiers) a) Slaves also see the west as a place of new opportunity B. Federal Government’s Roles 1. Mid 1860’s to the 20th century, 2 million people migrate a) incentive to incorporate the West into the national economy b) utilize the west’s natural resources 2. Homestead Act (1862): allowed any citizen or immigrant to claim 160 acres for $10
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a) if they lived on/cultivated the land for 5 years, they then owned the
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course HI 152 taught by Professor Schmitz during the Spring '11 term at BU.

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jan27th-lecture - Westward Ho The West and American...

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