How the West Was Really Won by Miriam Horn



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How the West Was Really Won by Miriam Horn

  1. Miriam Horn claims that Turner was right to say that the frontier was the “root of American character”. How does she describe that character?

  2. What was the Homestead Act and what problems existed for frontier families who took advantage of it?

  3. What does Horn mean when she says, “it was in the ostensibly self-reliant West… that the modern welfare state was born”?

  4. Name and explain at least three pieces of evidence that Horn uses to prove that the settlement of the west was an environmental catastrophe.

  5. Describe the lives of frontier women.

  6. How did the perception of Mexicans on the “frontier” change for Americans from the early 1800’s, before the US Mexican War, until after the war?

  7. What was the fate of many black pioneers who moved west after Reconstruction?

  8. What was the “myth of the noble savage”? How did it come about according to Horn and what does she say were the problems that this myth caused?

  9. What does Horn mean when she says that the “cult of individualism” was most harmful to Indians? Give an example of how it harmed them.

  10. How and why has the picture of Indian history changed?

  11. How have new historians changed our views of frontier heroes?

  12. What parts of the myth of the taming of the American west have lasted in our popular culture? Why do you think these aspects have survived?


How the West Was Really Won by Miriam Horn

  1. Miriam Horn claims that Turner was right to say that the frontier was the “root of American character”. How does she describe that character?

  2. What was the Homestead Act and what problems existed for frontier families who took advantage of it?

  3. What does Horn mean when she says, “it was in the ostensibly self-reliant West… that the modern welfare state was born”?

  4. Name and explain at least three pieces of evidence that Horn uses to prove that the settlement of the west was an environmental catasptrophe.

  5. Describe the lives of frontier women.

  6. How did the perception of Mexicans on the “frontier” change for Americans from the early 1800’s, before the US Mexican War, until after the war?

  7. What was the fate of many black pioneers who moved west after Reconstruction?

  8. What was the “myth of the noble savage”? How did it come about according to Horn and what does she say were the problems that this myth caused?

  9. What does Horn mean when she says that the “cult of individualism” was most harmful to Indians? Give an example of how it harmed them.

  10. How and why has the picture of Indian history changed?

  11. How have new historians changed our views of frontier heroes?

  12. What parts of the myth of the taming of the American west have lasted in our popular culture? Why do you think these aspects have survived?


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