The Frontier in American Culture by Richard White

By Richard White

Log cabins and wagon trains, cowboys and Indians, Buffalo invoice and common Custer. those and different frontier photographs pervade our lives, from fiction to movies to advertisements, the place they connect themselves to items from pancake syrup to cologne, blue denims to banks. Richard White and Patricia Limerick sign up for their inimitable abilities to discover our nationwide preoccupation with this uniquely American image.

Richard White examines the 2 so much enduring tales of the frontier, either informed in Chicago in 1893, the yr of the Columbian Exposition. One was once Frederick Jackson Turner's remarkably influential lecture, "The value of the Frontier in American History"; the opposite happened in William "Buffalo invoice" Cody's flamboyant extravaganza, "The Wild West." Turner acknowledged the peaceable cost of an empty continent, a story that put Indians on the margins. Cody's tale positioned Indians—and bloody battles—at heart degree, and culminated with the conflict of the Little Bighorn, popularly often called "Custer's final Stand." doubtless contradictory, those tales jointly display a classy nationwide identity.

Patricia Limerick indicates how the tales took on a lifetime of their very own within the 20th century and have been then reshaped by way of extra voices—those of Indians, Mexicans, African-Americans, and others, whose types revisit the query of what it capacity to be an American.

Generously illustrated, engagingly written, and peopled with such unforgettable characters as Sitting Bull, Captain Jack Crawford, and Annie Oakley, The Frontier in American Culture reminds us that regardless of the divisions and denials the western circulate sparked, just like the frontier unites us in fabulous ways.

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By the Indians" (Figure 13), kept this theme of white victimization central to the American understanding oflndian wars. Pictures of Indians attacking helpless white women and children or badly outnumbered white men became a staple of nineteenth-century popular histories (Figure 14). 40 Indeed, the theme of Indian aggression persisted even after the United States had placed the Indians on reservations. As Buffalo Bill restaged the Little Bighorn in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune carried accounts of Indian aggression and white defense, with headlines in June and July 1893 proclaiming "Fears of Outbreak ...

Machinery has no branes. A lady with manicured fingers can drive an automobile with out maring her polished nails. But to sit behind six range bred horses with both hands full of ribbons these are God made animals and have branes. To drive these over a mountain road takes both hands feet and head its no lady'sjob. 7H Russell made the same point even more pithily in a painting, The Old Story: a car spooks a team of horses pulling a buckboard, throwing the cowboy holding the reins while the well-dressed goggled motorist in his machine looks on.

Buffalo Bill had prepared for the anticipated engagement by dressing in his showman's costume-"a Mexican vaquero outfit of black velvet slashed with scarlet and trimmed with silver buttons and lace"-which in his performances became the very clothing in which he had fought Yellow Hand. " Meanwhile Yellow Hand's actual scalp went on display in theaters where Buffalo Bill performed in what the program described as another "realistic Western Drama," Life on the Border (Figure I 6). Yellow Hand had become a prop that validated Buffalo Bill's stories.

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