A Companion to the American West (Blackwell Companions to by William Deverell

By William Deverell

A significant other to the yankee West is a rigorous, illuminating advent to the heritage of the yank West. Twenty-five essays by way of specialist students synthesize the simplest and so much provocative paintings within the box and supply a accomplished review of topics and historiography. Covers the tradition, politics, and atmosphere of the yankee West via classes of migration, payment, and modernization Discusses local american citizens and their conflicts and integration with American settlers

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The same is largely true of the profound social changes set in motion by early European contact. There were shufflings of power and sweeping migrations; the fortunes of some peoples rose and others fell. Some tribes that whites assumed had existed from time immemorial in fact had formed only recently when related bands coalesced in response to dangers and opportunities brought by Europeans. Military and hunting societies took on new roles to meet changing circumstances. In some groups polygyny, the taking of more than one wife by a husband, was encouraged by the heightened hunting power of men on horseback (and consequently the greater work load in processing their kills), the attrition of warriors from intensified warfare, and the flaunting of higher status in more affluent times.

It was an important triumph, though it alone was not decisive. What turned Fallen Timbers into a catastrophic defeat for confederated Indians were changes in the international scene. Locked in conflict with Revolutionary France, the monarchies of Spain and Britain decided to avoid a confrontation with the American republic. Consequently, the Spanish temporarily opened the Mississippi to American navigation, and the British betrayed their Indian allies once more. They closed their forts to retreating Indians and cut them off from resupply.

Oscar O. Winther’s work of nearly thirty years, from the 1930s into the 1960s (1936, 1950, 1964), was supplemented by excellent earlier works on steamboating and roadbuilding, but all those subjects have long been ripe for a fresh look, both in their particular settings and in their impact on the West. As Patricia Limerick has pointed out (1999), the mesmerizing power of overland migration has blinded us somewhat to the extraordinary social experience of approaching the West from the sea, and to that we can add a neglect of the economic impact of maritime trade following the Mexican War and the Gold Rush.

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