A History of America’s Westward Expansion
America’s continental expansion, from the seaboard-hugging thirteen original colonies to the Pacific Ocean, is one of the great themes of our history. “Manifest Destiny,” as it was called in the nineteenth century, and the iconic figure of the cowboy, created a mythology so powerful that it continued to be celebrated in American culture for a century after the closing of the frontier. Beginning with eighteenth-century views of western prospects, and Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, this course will follow the trajectory of American expansion from coast to coast, with a cast of characters including fur traders, farmers, explorers, cowboys, Indians, artists, photographers, miners, Mormons, and movie stars.
(see syllabus below)
Presented by Bruce Thompson, Ph.D.
10 Thursdays at 7:00PM
JUN 22 to AUG 24
To register, click the ENROLL link above
or call 408-864-4060 (M – F, 10 – 6)
Week 1 (JUN 22) ~ Facing West: The Founders and Westward Expansion
Week 2 (JUN 29) ~ The Explorers: Lewis and Clark
Week 3 (JUL 6) ~ Trail of Tears: Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal
Week 4 (JUL 13) ~ Texas, Tyler, and the Telegraph
Week 5 (JUL 20) ~ The Year of Decision: 1846
Week 6 (JUL 27) ~ The Forty-Niners: Founding San Francisco
Week 7 (AUG 3) ~ Lincoln’s Legacies: The Homestead Act,
the Transcontinental Railroad, and the National Parks
Week 8 (AUG 10) ~ Across the Wide Missouri: Cowboy Ecology
Week 9 (AUG 17) ~ Indian Wars: 1860-1890s
Week 10 (AUG 24) ~ The Western: John Ford and Howard Hawks
Bruce Thompson, is a lecturer in the Departments of History and Literature and the Associate Director of Jewish Studies at U.C.-Santa Cruz, and also teaches at the Institute. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford; his areas of scholarly research include European intellectual and cultural history, French history, British Isles history, American history, American Jewish intellectual and cultural history, the history of cinema, and the history of espionage.