The concept of the frontier is critical to the concept of the west. According to David Wrobel, the American concept of frontier (which is different from the European concept) was that of “Movement, a transitory line, the point of contact between white and Native peoples, the dangerous borderland between a settled homeland and a yet to be tamed new land, a promised land of sorts, but one that would require hardship, sacrifice, and danger for its promise to be realized.
The idea of the frontier is still used today by groups that want to sell the idea of the west for various purposes. Today’s construction of the concept of the frontier is very different however. Like the add on this slide demonstrates, today the frontier is sold as a place to get away from civilization. This is in stark contrast to the original promoters of the frontier. These groups were focused on selling the frontier as civilized and not that different from where the settlers were coming from.
This is another example of modern idea of the frontier being used to sell products.
The concept of the American West is very complex. Even the people that live there have to deal with many conflict issues with this concept. One of the biggest issues is that because the idea of the West has always been a construct, some consider it a myth, it never lives up to what it is billed as. For settlers, this discrepancy was often attributed to new arrivals changing the area. This common thought leads to the idea of primacy, which is “the notion that length of residence in a place confers the right to speak for the spirit of that place.”
One of the great paradoxes of the west is the fact that the land that was being settled had already been settled. That is to say that many part of the west were already inhabited by Native Americans and Mexicans. Despite this fact, the concept of primacy did not apply to them. Only “white Americans who had experienced difficult journeys, transformed formerly inhospitable wastelands, and arrived in those places during the frontier period,” could claim primacy.
The west has many important Native American locations, however some Native Americans now claimed the reservations that they were moved to with the same identity of their native lands. Not all Native Americans have a strong attachment to the land. Make sure that you are not imparting a since of “placefulness” or “rootedness” on the condition of “Indianess,” to do so would be racial stereotyping.
Another important concept for the West was the idea that it was the land of promise. By identifying the area as promised land, they are imparting a high level of value to the land. This helps some settlers justify their actions, despite the area not living up to how it was billed.
These are contemporary examples of how the modern west is still very much and idea. The anti-California movement is rooted in the idea that California is one of the most dominate cultures in the United States and that as these people move to different locals they are bringing their culture with them. Once again the west is being lost to the new arrivals.
The concern that wealthy Californians will change the socioeconomic make up of the west is an inversion of the concern held during the late 1800’s. During this period, strong anti-immigrant feelings were common in the west. The main concern was that the immigrants were poor and would use up available social services.
Cooperation between different cultures in the West was relatively rare.
Change is a difficult issue for many cultures. The West has a difficult time dealing with this issue as well. Many of the older generations in the West have always looked backed fondly to the way things were. They often feel that experience of the West was purer before things changed. However, the reality is that it is impossible for a culture to live in a vacuum and not experience change.
One of the biggest reason for this resistance to change is from the promoters of the West, the people who want to profit from this image. The more the west changes, the more they have to shift the way their concepts are packaged.
Ghosts of Western Future and Past<br />By James Harris<br />
The Enduring Frontier Heritage<br />Elements of the American concept of “frontier”<br /><ul><li>Movement
Point of contact between natives and White settlers
Dangerous borderland between settled and unsettled land.</li></ul>Courtesy of Kansas Memeory<br />
The Enduring Frontier Heritage<br />Escape to your own Mountain Hideawaywith United Country - Alpine Realty<br />Courtesy of www.mountainhideaway.com<br />
The Enduring Frontier Heritage<br />Courtesy of Internet Autoguide.com<br />
The Enduring Frontier Heritage<br />Courtesy of http://oregontrail.org<br />
Primacy, Authenticity, Promise and Place<br />Despite already living on the land of the frontier, settlers did not confer primacy on the Native Americans of the west.<br />Courtesy of Western history and Genealogy from the Denver Public Library<br />
Primacy, Authenticity, Promise and Place<br />Contempor-ary Navajo Reservation in Arizona<br />Courtesy of Kasama Newsletter<br />
Primacy, Authenticity, Promise and Place<br />Courtesy of The Library of Congress<br />
Primacy, Authenticity, Promise and Place<br />Courtesy of the National Archives<br />
Californication in the Contemporary West<br />Courtesy of Bumperart.com<br />Courtesy of Halfass.com<br />Courtesy of City-Data.com<br />
Californication in the Contemporary West<br />Courtesy of New York State Archives<br />
Californication in the Contemporary West<br /><ul><li>Idealized image of the west.</li></ul>Courtesy of Getty Images<br />
Change, Methodology, and Regional Identity<br />Courtesy of The National Archives<br />
Change, Methodology, and Regional Identity<br />Courtesy of The Library of Congress<br />
Change, Methodology, and Regional Identity<br /><ul><li>One of the most difficult things to understand about the west is how the most recent arrivals are often the first to lament the inevitable arrival of the next wave of immigrants.</li></ul>Courtesy of http://emints4.purdy.k12.mo.us/westward.htm<br />
Change, Methodology, and Regional Identity<br />Courtesy of International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers<br />