Philanthropy in the American West

Until recently, the history of the American West has been depicted as a progression of Anglo male conquests over a raw land and its native inhabitants. Nineteenth-century images of dust-covered cowboys corralling Longhorn steers, fearless lawmen enforcing frontier justice, and U.S. cavalrymen waging ethnic wars against Native Americans have dominated the literature—even assuming almost mythical proportions. A narrow concentration on the 19th-century frontier of mountain men, cowboys, and miners has fostered such stereotypes, eclipsing a more inclusionary approach. Only occasionally did the experiences and perspectives of women and minorities intrude as marginal figures in these much-celebrated narratives. As a result, such one-dimensional depictions have denied the complexity and diversity of the western experience.

As scholars now acknowledge, there was another West. Inhabiting these “other frontiers” were ...

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