Settling the Western Frontier: 1865 - 1890. How the United States came to occupy the West. Settling the Western Frontier, 1865 - 1890. What is a “Frontier”? Where was the “American Frontier”?
How the United States came to occupy the West
When historians discuss a “frontier” they are usually describing a place where two unique cultures are making contact with one another. On one side of the frontier, there is the familiar society known to its inhabitants. On the opposite side of the frontier is the unfamiliar – the diverse, unknown, exotic, “other.” Often, Americans have viewed the Western Frontier of the 19th Century as being “unsettled,” “uncivilized,” chaotic, godless, and frightening – inhabited by cannibals or “savages.” At times, it seems that Native Americans were not there at all when we watch shows like “Little House on the Prairie”!
The US Army and American Indians
Buffalo Soldiers and American Settlers
Why do you think the western frontier got this name?
What generalization would you make about the Western Frontier? Are there universal truths about the Western Frontier which emerged from our discussions about the relationships between diverse peoples in the West? Is your generalization surprising? Is it a positive and inspiring statement about the Western Frontier, or a discouraging, negative statement? How could we summarize this discussion in a sentence or two?