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American Old West
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"When and Where Was the Old West?
A word of explanation is in order — as we journey through “the Old West,” we’ll be spending a lot of time in the East, and probably talk about times not normally thought of as the Old West. I plan to extend the scope of this website to Eastern politics and money interests, for that shaped much of what we call the “Old West.”
We also will be looking at a broader time frame than normally included in Western American history. Most folks think of the Old West beginning around or just after the Civil War. But in reality, it began much earlier. I am interested in going as far “back” in history as the end of the War of 1812 (that would be in 1815 or so) — because westward migration first picked up seriously when war veterans and others began breaching the Appalachians after that conflict and settling further west. Of course, I also want to look at the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, another trigger point in the start of the Old West and western expansion. And I will somewhat arbitrarily end the period with the administration of President Teddy Roosevelt (approximately 1909), for he was in many ways the last great “western” president and did much through the national park system to shape the present American West.