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Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier / Edition 6

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Overview

When it appeared in 1949, the first edition of Ray Allen Billington's Westward Expansion set a new standard for scholarship in western American history, and the book's reputation among historians, scholars, and students grew through four subsequent editions. This abridgment and revision of Billington and Martin Ridge's fifth edition, with a new introduction and additional scholarship by Ridge, as well as an updated bibliography, focuses on the Trans-Mississippi frontier.

Although the text sets out the remarkable story of the American frontier, which became, almost from the beginning, an archetypal narrative of the new American nation's successful expansion, the authors do not forget the social, environmental, and human cost of national expansion. While most Americans take pride in the nation's frontier heritage and its associated myths, they also share that history with others—especially with people of color—in whose collective memories the story of the American west is rendered both dark and painful. Westward Expansion encourages an understanding of American "westering" that is mindful of the racism and excessive nationalism that frequently marred the Western frontier experience. At the same time, the authors understand a sense of optimism, a profound faith in individuals' own abilities, the willingness to innovate, and an abiding trust in democracy to be the transcendent values of the frontier experience, traits that continue to influence the character of America's people long after the close of the western frontier.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826319814
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Sixth edition, an abridgment
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,364,930
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Allen Billington (1903-81) trained several generations of western historians and published numerous books on American frontier history, including America's Frontier Heritage (UNM Press).

Martin Ridge is a senior research associate in the Henry E. Huntington Library. He has taught at San Diego State University, Indiana University, and the California Institute of Technology. He is the former editor of the Journal of American History and the past president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association and Western History Association. He is the author of numerous scholarly and review articles dealing with the American West. He is the coeditor of Histories of the American Frontier.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Frontier Hypothesis 1
Ch. 1 Westward to the Mississippi 13
Ch. 2 The Land and the People 45
Ch. 3 The Spanish-Mexican Frontier, 1540-1776 61
Ch. 4 The Traders' Frontier, 1776-1840 83
Ch. 5 The Mississippi Valley Frontier, 1803-1840 107
Ch. 6 The Taking of Texas, 1820-1845 125
Ch. 7 The Occupation of Oregon, 1825-1846 151
Ch. 8 The Great Basin Frontier, 1830-1846 175
Ch. 9 The Conquest of California, 1830-1846 193
Ch. 10 Conquest and Controversy, 1846-1850 215
Ch. 11 The West and Slavery, 1850-1860 237
Ch. 12 The Miners' Frontier, 1858-1875 259
Ch. 13 The Transportation Frontier, 1858-1884 279
Ch. 14 The Indian Barrier, 1860-1887 299
Ch. 15 The Ranchers' Frontier, 1865-1887 321
Ch. 16 Opening the Plains, 1870-1890 341
Ch. 17 The Farmers' Frontier, 1870-1890 357
Conclusion: The Frontier Heritage 377
Selected Readings 391
Index 426
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