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The Development of the American West

The West has always been at the forefront of the American mind. From the early days of the Republic, when the vast area beyond the Appalachian Mountains spurred imagination, through the mid-19th century, when the vast plains beyond the Mississippi River beckoned those seeking a new start, the West has both inspired and defined the absolute limits of American achievement. “The American Frontier” and “Manifest Destiny” were used by politicians and citizens alike to spur the United States to be a continental empire. At the same time, as often unruly Americans spread West, those who inhibited those lands – numerous Native American tribes – were pushed aside, contained, or conquered outright. Thus, while “The West” often has positive connotations in American History narratives, it also has a dark side – too often forgotten in the pursuit of heroic storytelling.

The PIPE Symposium on the Development of the American West brings together leading scholars from across the nation to consider a balanced analysis of how the American West developed from a political-economic perspective. 

Panel 1:

“Gender Gaps in Frontier Entrepreneurship? Evidence from 1901 Oklahoma Land Lottery Winners” Jason Poulos (Harvard Medical School)

“The Gendered Legacies of the Frontier and Military Enlistment Behavior”

Jonathan Homola, Connor Huff, Yui Nishimura, and Amorae Times (Rice University)

Discussant: Adi Dasgupta (UC-Merced)

Panel 2:

“The Spanish Mission Legacy on Native American Reservations.”

Lee J. Alston (Indiana University and the NBER), Marie Duggan (Keene State College), and Julio A. Ramos Pastrana (Pennsylvania State University)

“State Trust Lands and Natural Resource Use in the US Northwest”

Eric Alston (University of Colorado Boulder) and Steven Smith (Colorado School of Mines)

“Inequalities in Vote by Mail in the US West: Origins and Current Realities of US Mail Access for Native Americans in Arizona”

Jean Schroedel, Joseph Dietrich, and Melissa Rogers (Claremont Graduate University)

Discussants: Bryan Leonard (Arizona State University) and Tessa Provins (University of Pittsburgh)

Book Manuscript Presentation:

Empire’s Succession: Trusteeship, Capitalism, and Native American Dispossession in the United States by Emilie Connolly (Brandeis University)

Discussants: Paul Frymer (Princeton University) and Sarah Quinn (University of Washington)

Bedrosian Center