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By Elliott West

Historians have paid little cognizance to the lives and contributions of kids who took half in westward enlargement. during this significant examine of yankee adolescence, now to be had back in paperback, Elliott West explores how childrens helped shape—and in flip have been formed by—the frontier event. Frontier kid's first vibrant perceptions of the hot kingdom, while deepened by way of their paintings, play, and exploration, cast an improved bond with their atmosphere than that in their elders. via diaries, journals, letters, novels, and oral and written recollections, West has reconstructed the lives of the kids who turned the 1st actually Western new release.

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Additional resources for Growing up with the country: childhood on the far-western frontier

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Adults seem responsible for all accomplishments and villainies. The emotional traumas, hard-won victories, appalling lapses in moral senseall are described from men's and women's perspectives. Children are there, of course, but they are oddly passive figures. Their main role seems to be to inspire their parents' protectiveness and determination. This impression is woefully distorted, although not because the children's story is beyond the modern historian's grasp. The experiences of the pioneer young have rarely been told because very few writers have ever tried.

Parents who owned land still worried that their grown children might not be able to afford any of their own. Beyond that, the West, just starting to be exploited, seemed to promise all sorts of opportunities for at least the next few generations. "18 Many of these families moved as part of a long tradition. Their parents and grandparents might have come with the edge of settlement through Page 9 A pioneer family, one of tens of thousands that invaded the West, pauses with their well-equipped wagon in downtown Cripple Creek, Colorado.

The "line of semi-aridity" ran roughly along the ninety-eighth meridian; west of it, the annual rainfall was less than twenty inches, a figure that dropped steadily as one moved toward the Rockies. Most of the region between those mountains and the Sierra received less than ten inches per year, and some got less than two. Vegetation was a handy guide to the amount of rain an area could expect. Newcomers to the plains were typically struck first by the absence of timber. " 10 But before they were transformed into vast checkerboards of wheat and other staples, the eastern plains were a profusion of native grasses and flowerscompass plant and skullcap, horsenettle and fog fruit, spiderwort, goldenrod, and snow-on-the-mountain, needlegrass, cordgrass, switchgrass, and blue-stem.

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