The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914

Book Revierws and Notices

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
Economic Beginnings of the Far West: How We Won the Land
Beyond the Mississippi. By Katharine Coman. (New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1912. Pp. xix, 418; ix, 450.)
The appearance of this book is significant. It foreshadows the
time when the early history of the Trans-Mississippi West will
be systematically studied as a whole, and given its due place in
the history of the United States. As the first attempt to organ-
ize this field on a comprehensive scale, the work is deserving of
commendation. The present reviewer by no means agrees with
another who maintains that Miss Coman's task was pointless and
impossible.
Since the book is new in scope, a brief statement of its contents
is due. Volume I, entitled "Explorers and Colonizers," includes:
Part I, "The Spanish Occupation (1542-1846)"-the explorers, the
colonizers; Part II, "Exploration and the Fur Trade"-The North-
west Coast, the overland search for the western sea, the fur trade.
Volume II, entitled "American Settlers," includes: Part III, "The
Advance of the Settlers"-Louisiana, the Missouri Territory, the
Santa F6 Trade, the colonization of Texas; Part IV, "The Trans-
continental Migration"-The acquisition of Oregon, the Mormon
migration, the conquest of California; Part V; "Free Land and
Free Labor"-the curse of slavery, slavery in the territories, the
victory in the North. The volume closes with the Homestead Act
of 1862.
The problem of organizing this vast field, even from a single
viewpoint, is not easy, and Professor Coman has not solved all
the difficulties. In its most general aspect, her organization is
correct, the reviewer believes. That is, she treats the Spanish,
French, British and Russian activities, and the exploration and
fur trading activities of the Americans in the Trans-Mississippi
region, as the preparation for the American settler, and then goes
back and traces the progress of American settlement, as the second
stage of the development of the West. The work very properly
begins with an extended statement of the Spanish and French
occupation. Both of these topics are treated under the head of

207

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/. Accessed September 16, 2014.