The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 549
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concise accounts of the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War,
the acquisition of Oregon, the saga of the Mormons, and the gold
rushes to California and Colorado. The book ends with a descrip-
tion of overland transportation, devoted mainly to the firms of
Wells Fargo and Russell, Majors and Waddell.
A perusal of the extensive footnotes and useful bibliography in-
dicates that this book is a summary of most of what is now known
about Western history during the period 1830 to 186o, and hence
most of the criticisms directed at Billington's work must be borne
by historians of the West in general. Now that the broad outlines
have been defined and the romance of the western frontier has
been exploited, it is time to seek a deeper understanding of
Western history in all of its connections. Billington promised a
thorough description of the "settlement process," yet very little is
said about the actual settlers, how they adapted themselves and
their institutions to the mountain West and semi-arid West, about
the town promoters, the civil engineers, or the professional terri-
torial officials. This book demonstrates that there is also still much
to be learned about the economic and cultural relations between
East and West, about the role of the federal government in sub-
sidizing the frontier, and of the public lands in the national
economy. Much has been written, for instance, about Texas before
it entered the Union, but little has been said about the effect of
statehood on the politics, culture, and economy of Texas, or the
effect of Texas' entry upon the nation. Billington grossly neglects
religion and education; yet Western settlers are usually pictured
as being preoccupied by religion, and in this period Easterners,
at least, constantly asserted that education was the panacea for
America and the mission of democracy. These frontiers and many
more invite conquest by historians toward a deeper understanding
of the role of the West in the development of America and the
world. Billington's work, while furnishing a jumping off place
for further research, stands as a good, readable account of what
is presently known about the Far Western Frontier.
DAVID D. VAN TASSEL
University of Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/657/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.