Wednesday, May 3, 2017

American West


By 1848 the United States had acquired official title to the contigous land stretching westward to the Pacific, south to the Rio Grande, and north to the 49th parallel. Americans had long since explored and settled in many of these areas, but legitimate possession created an impetus for development that began to crystallize as other timely occurrences brought a greater influx of people to the West. The religious persecution of the Mormons had led them to begin their migration westward by this time. The discovery of gold would soon draw thousands more across the country. While the tragic flaws in this plan are clear in hindsight (the west was, of course, neither empty nor uncivilized, and the westward migration caused decades of violence against the Native American tribes), the basic concepts of going to the frontier, pushing boundaries, and spreading democracy are still powerful myths in contemporary American culture. This transition from a "wild" western frontier into organized segments of a federal union is documented in photographs.

No comments: