By Clyde A. Milner
In 1893, Fredrick Jackson Turner released his innovative essay, "The importance of the Frontier in American History." A century later, the various country's such a lot leading edge students of Western heritage assembled at a convention at Utah kingdom college below the course of historian Clyde A. Milner II. right here they brought essays intended to map the fascinating new territory opened in recent times within the background of the West. accumulating the easiest of those essays, this assortment goals to supply a compelling evaluate of the latest Western historiography. The entries contain William Deverell at the value of the West in American heritage; David Guti?rrez on Mexican american citizens; Susan Rhodes Neel on nature and the surroundings; Gail M. Nomura on Asia and Asian americans; Anne F. Hyde on cultural perceptions; David wealthy Lewis on local american citizens; Susan Lee Johnson on males, girls, and gender; and Qunitard Taylor on race and African-Americans. every one essay is followed via commentaries written via different best students, and the eminent historian Allan G. Bogue provides a penetrating creation.
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Extra resources for A New Significance: Re-Envisioning the History of the American West
16. S. Regional History," Perspectives 28 (February 1990): 6. I owe thanks to Paul Andrew Hutton, who provided me with membership lists of the Western History Association. 17. , 1922). 18. John M. Gaus, "Lecture Notes," February-June 1920, Turner Papers, University of Wisconsin Archives. 19. , 29 March, 5 May 1920. 20. Turner, The Frontier in American History, 19; Gaus, "Notes," 14 May 1920; Turner and Merk, List of References, 7-12. Turner's role as an adviser of women graduate students and his views on their place in the history teaching profession will be considered in another publication.
As Elliott West has noted: We are obliged to study everyone who has ever lived in the West—and for the length of time they have lived there. That sounds obvious, but in fact the story of many peoples have [sic] been told only in relation to the frontier epic of the last century. Reading older texts, for example, it is easy to get the impression that Indians and Hispanics were significant only as barriers to the bold frontiersmen who pushed beyond the Missouri after 1820. 13 Any slice of western time or space reveals that complexity: the vagaries of geopolitical history that have defined the West, the region's permutations of American social process and demography, the clash of cultural and political contests.
Perhaps more so than their predecessors, new western historians admit just how extraordinarily slippery history can be. We are history's prisoners: FIGHTING WORDS • 35 something happened sometime to create the world we inhabit, to render the past into the present. Less comforting, and far less absolute, is the realization that history is frighteningly malleable if it can be run down, gathered up, packaged, and sold. Interpretation alters how the present views the past by virtually changing that past.
A New Significance: Re-Envisioning the History of the American West by Clyde A. Milner