Conflict and Conquest in the American West

Edward O’Donnell

Beginning in the 1840s, settlers spurred on by enthusiastic reports of open land and the Homestead Act began pouring into the trans-Mississippi West. They established millions of farms and created thriving railroad, ranching and mining industries. However, these achievements came at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans who resisted for a time, but eventually succumbed to the Army and life on reservations. This presentation examines the ideas, policies and events that shaped the conquest of the West. Professor O’Donnell will also look at the ways in which our image of the West shaped, and continues to shape, the American imagination and self-image.