History of the 19th Century American West (Hist 4530/5530)
Office: 356 History, 766-5101 or 5311 Wed., 7-9:30 p.m.
Home: 745-8205 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Please consult the professor’s website for specific assignments and other worthwhile information for this course: http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/ROBERTSHISTORY/
Course Objective: This course will explore the major issues involving the people, politics, economy, environment and culture in the 19th century American West through reading, researching, writing and class discussions.
Class Procedures: Because it is presumed that each student has completed the survey course in the history of the American West (or an equivalent), this course will not be taught in a strictly chronological fashion. Most of the materials will be discussed topically. The professor will begin each class period with a short introductory topical lecture, followed by discussion of readings, if applicable. Discussions on the topics of the "issues papers" will follow. Class discussions for each week will be based on the issues questions as well as the readings, some commonly read, but most individually assigned..
Course Requirements: The essential requirement for this course is diligent reading and thinking about Western issues and Western history in the 19th century. Completion of analytical "issues papers" will be required as well as oral contributions to class discussions. Because there is remarkable continuity in the history of the American West, students are expected to read about current Western issues regularly as articles about such issues appear in the national and regional press. Also required is an understanding of regional geography, either through map study or by other means.
Grading: The course grade will be based on the following:
Undergraduate Students: Undergraduate students will be assigned five (5) "issues paper" questions from the ten possible choices. Based often on individually assigned readings, students will respond to the questions, making reference to relevant outside readings as well as to common readings and materials from the lectures. The issues papers for the first half of the semester will be due the class before spring break. The remainder will be due the final class period of the semester. Preparation and readings, however, must be done prior to the class for which the issues paper is assigned, in order that the student may knowledgably participate in the class discussion
Issues papers: 50 percent
Final exam (based on lectures, common readings, individual readings): 30 percent
Class participation: 20 percent
Graduate Students: Graduate students will be required to complete seven (7) of the ten possible issues papers. In lieu of a final exam, graduate students will complete one of the following types of papers, the choice being left to each student: 1) a final thorough bibliographic essay of the secondary literature for any one of the topics to be discussed during the course of the semester, or 2) a research paper, demonstrating facility with primary documents as well as secondary materials.
Issues papers: 70 percent (including relevant reviews of important books, if applicable)
Final paper: 20 percent
Class participation: 10 percent
1. Selections from several books and a variety of history journals, all of which will be available on reserve from Coe Library. Some may be available via the internet, but students are cautioned not to rely on this means.
2. Access to five history journals: Western Historical Quarterly, Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Western Legal History, Annals of Wyoming, Montana: Magazine of Western History, along with familiarity with all state/regional history journals relating to the West, accessible in Coe Library’s serials collection.
3. Depending on the nature of the issues question chosen, the instructor will assign individual readings to each student. All such materials assigned will be held in the collections of Coe Library or the American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, but it is the responsible of the student to obtain the book/article.
Issues Papers (all students):
Each undergraduate student will be asked to respond to five (5) of the ten specifically assigned questions noted below on the syllabus. Each of the questions varies in length and specific preparation and writing, but students will be required to write formal "answers" in legible, typed form during the course of the semester. There is no expectation that the paper follow any particular form or format. The purpose is to challenge each student to think about the issues and do some reading/research on the general topics. Graduate students will be assigned to write on seven (7) of the ten questions.
Final Exam (undergraduates only): The final exam may be take-home in nature and based on the common readings, the lectures, and the individually assigned readings utilized in preparation for the issues papers. Obviously, the specific questions may vary slightly depending on what the student has read as part of his/her individual readings.
Formal Paper (graduate students only). No formal paper is required for undergraduates. One option for the graduate student will be to complete a formal essay/research paper which may take one of several forms. It may be a chapter of a longer study such as a thesis, dissertation or book. It may be a self-contained article about a particular issue in the history of the West. Whatever the form, the product should be the result of careful reading of existing works on the topic as well as sound, careful, original research. Given that each of us has different goals for the project (as a thesis chapter, an article for possible publication, etc.), the "style" and length may differ from student to student. The second option for graduate students will be completion of a bibliographic essay of sufficient breadth and quality for inclusion in a master’s thesis or similar scholarly work.
Outline of Topics, Meetings and Assignments*Assignment is due on the listed date.
Jan. 12: NO CLASS. Prof. Roberts is returning from a research trip.
Jan. 19: Introduction and Assignments of Readings
Students will be provided with lists of readings on each topic under consideration for the semester. All students will be expected to read the common assigned readings.
Jan. 26: Western History: An Introduction to the Historiography.
Assignment: Read each of the following:
1. Frederick Jackson Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," in Proceedings of the
41st Annual Meeting of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (Madison, 1894), 79-112,
reprinted in Milner, Major Problems in the History of the American West (Lexington, Mass.:
Heath, 1989), 2-21. The text is available on the web at various sites including: http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/tbacig/cst1030/1030anth/turnerth.html
2. Gerald D. Nash, "The Global Context of the New Western Historian," in Gene M. Gressley, ed., Old
West/New West. (Worland: High Plains, 1994), 149-162.
3. William Cronon, "Revisiting the Vanishing Frontier: The Legacy of Frederick Jackson Turner," Western
Historical Quarterly 18 (April 1987), 157-176.
Feb. 2: Western Exploration
"Western explorers were seeking to reconstitute in the West the society they had known on frontiers in the East.".
Reading: "Thomas Jefferson’s Instructions to Meriwether Lewis, 1803." Available in numerous places, including: http://www.monticello.org/jefferson/lewisandclark/instructions.html
Feb. 9: Mountain Men and the Fur Trade
Question: How valid is the commonly accepted stereotypical view of mountain men and fur trappers?
Issues Paper #1: Each student will be assigned a brief biography of a Western explorer/fur trapper/pioneer. One source for some will be the multi-volume series, Mountain Men and Fur Trappers of the Far West, edited by LeRoy Hafen. The set was reissued recently. From that reading, we will try to answer the above question. Be prepared to discuss the biography of your individual.
Feb. 16: Overland Migration
Issues Paper #2: Earlier scholarship on the overland trails highlighted the deeds of heroism and the suffering that came with the momentous move of people into the "wilderness." More recent work emphasizes the daily lives of individuals on the trails as well as the influences of Euroamerican culture, law, and social mores on the travelers. Based on at least one monograph-length study of a particular trail or migration route West, describe the people involved in traveling the trail, their motivations, their daily lives on the trail as well as their acts of heroism and suffering, if relevant. Limit your answer to no more than three (3) typed pages.
Coronado’s routes Butterfield Stage trail Bozeman Trail
Fremont’s routes Pony Express Texas (cattle) Trail
Oregon Trail Cherokee (Overland) Trail Pacific Railway survey proposals
California Trail Cheyenne-Black Hills stage route Various locally important trails
Santa Fe Trail Transcontinental railroad (survey and construction stages)
Mormon Trail Klondike routes
Feb. 23: Law and Order in the 19th Century West
"During the frontier period, the West was no more lawless than the immigrant-packed big cities of the East Coast."
Question: Based on readings from articles and books, how valid is the statement above?
"How the West Got Wild: American Media and Frontier Violence—A Round Table," Western Historical
Quarterly 31 (Autumn 2000), 277-295.
Issues Paper #3: From readings (articles or books) or case law, examine a specific criminal case in Western history. From contemporary newspaper accounts, if available, or from other sources, how "common place" was the incident? How might the particular case confirm or refute the conclusions of the WHA roundtable or the quoted statement above?
Mar. 2: The Land: Railroads, Farmers, Ranchers in the 19th Century West.
"Federal land acts after 1862 were tremendously successful but their implementation involved conflicts and failures that Congress had not envisioned."
1. Sherry L. Smith, "Single Women Homesteaders: The Perplexing Case of Elinore Pruitt Stewart," Western
Historical Quarterly 22 (May 1991), 163-184.
2. Phil Roberts, "Cowboys Form a Health Cooperative," Montana: Magazine of Western History 44
(Summer 1994), 63-69. The article is also in Readings in Wyoming History (4th revised ed).
Issues Paper #4:
Read each of the main homestead acts passed by Congress during the period 1862-1916. Read the Pacific Railway acts, specifically the sections making land grants to railroads. Compare and contrast the various requirements of the acts. Based on that reading, choose an agricultural community in the West that owed its existence to availability of federal lands and describe the settlement process it underwent. What were the "conflicts and failures" brought about by these acts, specific to the community of your study? Is the statement valid, at least in reference to the community of your study?
Mar. 9: The Land: Miners and Developers
1. Ray August, "Gringos v. Mineros: The Hispanic Origins of Western American Mining Law," Western
Legal History 9 (Summer/Fall, 1996), 147-175
2. Carol Bowers, "Chinese Warren and the Rock Springs Massacre," in Mike Mackey, ed., The Equality
State: Essays on Intolerance and Inequality in Wyoming (Powell: Western History Publications, 1999), 37-62.
Also, read the following:
Issues Paper #5:
Read the Mining Act of 1872 with amendments. Based on the provisions, what conclusions can you draw as to the public policy rationale for the act? In what ways might the act address a 19th century "environmental ethic"?
March 16: NO CLASS. Spring Break
March 23: People of the West
Reading: These articles and the others for the remainder of the semester will be available on e-reserve from Coe Library. Check the library webpage for details.
John H. Wunder, "What's Old about the New Western History: Race and Gender, Part 1," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 85 (April 1994), 50-58.
David G. Gutierrez, "Significant to Whom?: Mexican Americans and the History of the American West," Western Historical Quarterly 24 (November 1993), 519-539.
Quintard Taylor, Blacks and Asians in a White City: Japanese Americans and African Americans in Seattle, 1890-1940," Western Historical Quarterly 22 (November 1991), 401-430.
Issues Paper #6:
You will be assigned one ethnic group in a state/region of the West. Evaluate the 19th century history of the particular ethnic group in the West. Additionally, prepare a brief essay in which you discuss at least one monograph done in at least the past ten years on the particular group. Identify the major issues addressed, and the methodology employed. Give a personal assessment of the quality of the monograph and compare how the thesis and conclusion compares with the assessments in the common readings (above).
March 30: Economics of the West.
William G. Robbins, "In Pursuit of Historical Explanation: Capitalism as a Conceptual Tool for Knowing the American West," Western Historical Quarterly 30 (Autumn 1999), 277-295.
Robert G. Athearn, "Colonialism: The Enduring Dilemma," in The Mythic West in 20th Century America (Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1986), 108-130.
Issues Paper #7:
"The 19th century and early 20th century Westerner who attended rallies demanding an end to Eastern domination of the Western economy, would go out the next day and borrow money from an Eastern bank, order products from the East and sell stock to Eastern investors." Comment, making specific reference to at least one monograph on the topic.
April 6: Water in the West in the 19th Century
Norris Hundley, Jr., "Water and the West in Historical Imagination," Western Historical Quarterly 27 (Spring 1996), 5-31.
Donald J. Pisani, "Enterprise and Equity: A Critique of Western Water Law in the 19th Century," Western Historical Quarterly 18 (1987), 15-38.
Issues Paper #8:
Most Western states have developed water codes which rely on principles of prior appropriation. You will be assigned a Western state. Describe its legal mechanism for appropriation of water, including such points as who makes the appropriation, what (if any) "beneficial uses" are recognized, whether or not the right is tied to the land, etc. Based on your reading of the specific water code, what interest groups, if any, have had the greatest influence over the state's water, how conducive was the code to spurring economic development, how sensitive was it to protecting the environment?
April 13: Establishing Territories and States.
Issues Paper #9: You will be assigned a Western state and asked to read a selection about it from a volume on origins of the state constitutions. Based on the chapter and on other relevant outside readings, you will write a brief review concentrating on the MAIN two or three issues confronting the constitutional convention of your assigned state.
April 20: The 19th Century Urban West.
"In order for a town to exist in the West, the mimimum requirements were a newspaper, a bank, a school and a post office." --Anonymous. What, if any, are the other necessary components?
Eugene P. Moehring, "The Civil War and Town Founding in the Intermountain West," Western Historical Quarterly 28 (Autumn 1997), 317-341.
Thomas K. Hafen, "City of Saints, City of Sinners: The Development of Salt Lake City as A Tourist Attraction, 1869-1900," Western Historical Quarterly 28 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 3243-378.
Issues Paper #10:
You will be assigned a set of "paired" Western cities. What are the primary economic, environmental, demographic, political and cultural characteristics of each town? What factors caused each place to grow (or not grow) in population? What, if any, ethnic groups were present in the communities? What individuals were the principal "promoters"? How significant to the towns' development were decisions made by outside forces or accidents of geography and timing? Was there a dominant company/individual which controlled the economy, culture? What role, if any, did government play in the towns' formation and development? What factors were absent/present to explain differences in growth/development?
1. Gillette, Wyo. Parachute, Colo.
2. Kellogg, Idaho Ludlow, Colo.
3. Prescott, Ariz. Lewiston, Ida.
4. Park City, Utah. Jackson, Wyo.
5. Cripple Creek, Colo. Deadwood, S. D.
6. San Antonio, Tex. Crawford, Neb.
7. Rock Springs, Wyo. Everett, Wash.
8. Richland, Wash. Jeffrey City, Wyo.
9. El Paso, Tex. Bellingham, Wash.
10. Bisbee, Ariz. Jacksonville, Ore.
11. Calgary Tulsa
12. Cheyenne Sacramento
13. San Francisco Omaha, Neb.
14. Los Angeles Phoenix
15. Nanaimo, B. C. Butte, Montana
16. Anchorage Portland, Oregon
17. Albuquerque Victoria, B. C.
18. Santa Fe Sitka, Alas.
19. Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas, N.M.
20. Ogden, Utah North Platte, Neb.
21. Twin Falls, Idaho Grand Junction, Colo.
22. Jerome, Ariz.. South Pass City, Wyo
23. Oklahoma City Bakersfield, Calif.
24. San Jose Oakland
25. Window Rock Pine Ridge, S.D.
26. Seattle Vancouver
27. Colorado Springs San Diego
28. Salt Lake City Nicodemus, Kansas
April 27: Society and Culture
Does the American West have a different "culture" from the rest of America? If so, what distinguishes it from the "culture" of the rest of America?
Richard Francaviglia, "Walt Disney’s Frontierland as an Allegorical Map of the American West," Western
Historical Quarterly 30 (Summer 1999), 155-182.
Elliott R. Barkan, "America in the Hand, Homeland in the Heart: Transnational and Translocal Immigrant Experiences in the American West," Western Historical Quarterly 35 (Autumn 2004), pp. 331-356.
FINAL EXAM QUESTION
May 4: FINAL EXAM (undergraduate students only)
7 p.m., May 4: FINAL PAPER DUE (graduate students only). Late papers will not be accepted because the professor is working with law school faculty in the Caucasus and, consequently, will not be available after May 7.