By William Deverell

A significant other to the yankee West is a rigorous, illuminating creation to the background of the yank West. Twenty-five essays via specialist students synthesize the easiest and such a lot provocative paintings within the box and supply a accomplished 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 american citizens and their conflicts and integration with American settlers
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Additional resources for A Companion to the American West

Sample text

These regions, the argument runs, have suffered a steady loss of wealth and have remained politically subordinate to centers of economic power elsewhere, especially the Northeast. Although the study of class and its formation, inherent to this analysis of economic inequality, remains curiously neglected, the colonial theme runs unbroken through western studies, with its finest recent representation in William G. Robbins’s 1994 study Colony and Empire. But as Robbins shows so well, economic analysis becomes steadily more fulfillling as we refine it with an eye to western society’s popular attitudes, its many ethnic components, and its mythic dimensions.

Here the West is a “periphery” manipulated by “centers” of economic power, with its settlers and indigenous peoples pushed this way and that by distant decisions and left inextricably reliant on support from the same distant sources that profit from their labor and resources. Richard White’s The Roots of Dependency (1983) has proved a model for this approach; by considering three quite different Indian tribes he finds consistent patterns of deepening dependence as each group’s economy was undermined, yet each case worked itself out in its own cultural particulars.

Charles Sellers’s superb biography of President James K. Polk (1957) explored the impulses and maneuvering of this “continentalist,” and his The Market Revolution (1991) offered important clues as to how America’s economic transformation helped push its borders outward. Gene M. Brack’s splendid slim volume, Mexico Views Manifest Destiny (1990), described the attempts by increasingly desperate Mexican leaders to find a way out of a political and diplomatic impasse created largely by the appallingly insensitive policies of the United States.

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