A century ago, the American West, and the process of homesteading and Americanization that took place in the lands West of the Mississippi River was seen as a triumph of American drive, ingenuity, and courage; a sheer act of will that required hard work, perseverance, and above all, a spirit of independence and individualism.
In the decades following the closing of the Frontier (as pronounced by Frederick Turner in 1890), this perception of the West changed dramatically. The old view of a divinely inspired spread of Americanism changed to a more ambivalent view by mid-century, and finally, to an openly hostile view today that Western society was (and is) violent, murderous, and chaotic. We are now told that the West, after the coming of the white man, was a land of sadistic Indian murderers, psychopathic outlaws, and misfits who had abandoned the more peaceful life back in the good ol’ civilized U.S. of A. [MORE]