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The final work of pioneer Western historian Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Frontier represents a daring attempt to interpret the settlement of the American West in the global context of the expansion of European civilization between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. According to Webb's "boom hypothesis," the expansion of Europe's "Great Frontier" into the Western Hemisphere energized a static society and made possible the development of such fundamental institutions of the modern era as individualism, capitalism, and political democracy. Webb contends that the closing of the global frontier at the end of the nineteenth century, with the end of easily available empty land and readily exploited natural resources, was responsible for the crises and violence of the twentieth century and boded ill for the future of the United States's treasured democracy.
An insightful new introduction by Western historian William D. Rowley sets Webb's masterwork into the context of its own time and outlines the relevance of this still-controversial work for twenty-first-century readers.
Walter Prescott Webb (1888-1963) wrote or edited more than twenty books including The Great Plains, Divided We Stand, and The Texas Rangers. He taught at the University of Texas, the University of London, and at Oxford University. Although Webb's work sparked controversy and sharp criticism, it inspired new thinking about the role of regionalism in the nation's history.
|Ch. 1||The Frontier Factor in Modern History||1|
|Ch. 2||The Emergence of the Individual||29|
|Ch. 3||The Recrystallization of Society||63|
|Ch. 4||The Parabola of Individualism||103|
|Ch. 5||The Genesis of Modern Dynamism||140|
|Ch. 6||Frontier Windfalls and Modern Capitalism||180|
|Ch. 7||Three Unwise Bubbles||203|
|Ch. 8||The Frontier as a Modifier of Institutions||239|
|Ch. 9||The Fallacy of New Frontiers||280|
|Ch. 10||What the Frontier Touched: The Sciences||303|
|Ch. 11||What the Frontier Touched: Law, Government, and Economics||320|
|Ch. 12||What the Frontier Touched: Literature, Art, Education, and History||348|