Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Government Roles

Sondra Cosgrove

In: Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West

Federal, State, Local, and Tribal Government Roles

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  • The lone Conestoga wagon slowly winding its way across the plains carrying a family, their worldly possessions, and an aura of rugged individualism is an enduring image of the U.S. West. Rarely do we invoke lawyers, bureaucrats, and engineers when reminiscing about our western heritage. Yet in truth, the latter is closer to reality than the former; while mountain men, grizzled prospectors, and homesteading families were real, none would have existed or succeeded without the others. Instead of being an extraordinary feat of individualism, in many respects, westward expansion repeated the state-driven patterns of European colonization; leading the way were government officials, military muscle, and importantly, public tax dollars.

    Why then have we cultivated a national story that doesn't reflect what really happened? The obvious answer ...

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