Analysis of Western America from colonization to the present. The course traces the imperial, commercial, intellectual and social relationships constituting the trans-Mississippi region. In particular, it appraises the interactions of diverse populations in a frontier borderland over the course of several generations. Furthermore, significant attention is given to territorial acquisition, population mobility, economic development and popular culture. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):
Course Rotation for Day Program:
Most current editions of the following:
The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.
Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.
Major Problems in the History of the American West
By Milner, Clyde, Anne Butler, & David Rich Lewis, eds. (Houghton Mifflin) Category/Comments - Primary Source Required
The American West: A New Interpretive History
By Hine, Robert V. & John Mack Faragher (Yale) Recommended
Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier
By Billington, Ray Allen & Martin Ridge (New Mexico) Recommended
By Schweikart, Larry (Wiley) Recommended
Oxford History of the American West
By Milner, Clyde, et. al., eds. (Oxford) Recommended
The Legacy of Conquest
By Limerick, Patricia (Norton) Recommended
Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth
By Smith, Henry Nash (Harvard) Recommended
Power and Promise: The Changing American West
By Gary Clayton Anderson & Kathleen P. Chamberlain (Pearson) Recommended
It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A History of the American West
By Richard White (Oklahoma) Recommended
Course Learning Outcomes
Analyze the relationship between westward expansion and the development of American politics, economics, and culture.
Explain the impact of American western expansion on indigenous populations from the colonial period to the present day.
Explain the historical development of the American West as a region and the mythology of that region.
Analyze the contributions of diverse populations to the building of the American West.
Analyze primary documents within a historical framework.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
Defining the West and its History
Spanish and Canadian Borderlands
New France and the Fur Trade
Federal Support of Explorers and Emigrants
The Mexican-American War
The Overland Trail
Growth of transportation systems, mining corporations, commercial agriculture, military fortifications, and cattle drives
Homesteading and western land policies
Mormon migrations and settlements
Populism & Progressivism in the West
Cowboys, Outlaws, Violence and Vigilantism
Women and gender roles in the West
The Indian Wars
Water Policy and Conservation
Impact of the Great Depression on the West
The Western Homefront in World War II
Post-war sunbelt cities
The West in Popular Culture
Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by
the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this
course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section.
However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's
subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.