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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersThe Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1870-1912
The Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1870-1912
Topic: MemoryTopic: ProgressTopic: PeopleTopic: PowerTopic: Empire
Topic: Empire: Manifest Destiny and Beyond
Toolbox Overview: The Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1870-1912
Resource Menu: Empire
Text 1. Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier in American History
Text 2. Stephen Crane, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky
Text 3. The Future of the Red Man
Text 4. William F. Cody and John M. Burke, Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World
» Reading Guide
•  Link

Text 5. The New Frontier, Albert Beveridge and William Jennings Bryan
Text 6. Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life
Text 7. The White Man's Burden
Text 8. Mark Twain, To the Person Sitting in Darkness, The Dervish and the Offensive Stranger
Text 9. Aguinaldo's Case Against the United States
Text 10. Two Wars, Memorial Day, The Twelve-Inch Gun

RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
4.
Buffalo Bill
William F. Cody and John M. Burke, Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, program, 1893, excerpt

As Frederick Jackson Turner spoke on the closing of the frontier at the Columbian Exposition, across the street crowds thrilled to the horse races and shooting exhibitions of Buffalo Bill's Wild West. As Turner announced the end of the frontier, Buffalo Bill enshrined it in memory. Between 1883 and 1916 Buffalo Bill's Wild West—it was never called a show—toured this country and the world, recreating the old West from history and from the popular culture images of it already firmly lodged in the audience's imagination. The spectacle was never static; it evolved to accommodate changing tastes and current events. "[A]s early as March 1898," writes critic Joy Kasson, the Wild West included "performances about the Spanish-American War [that] appeared to mesh seamlessly with those of the Indian wars." The 1893 "Programme" illustrates this confluence between the conquest of the West and America's expanded role in the world and in so doing serves as a pivotal text in for this section of the toolbox. (You can also print the cover, above, for seminar and classroom use.) 1 page.


Discussion questions
  1. How does the "Programme" portray the West?
  2. According to the "Programme," what are the values of the West?
  3. What skills did the West inculcate in Americans? How are these valuable for a world power?
  4. How does the "Programme" attest to the West's incorporation into industrial America?
  5. How does the "Programme" portray Indians?
  6. How does Buffalo Bill's Wild West project America onto the rest of the world?

» Link


Topic Framing Questions
  •  How was the West incorporated into the nation?
  •  How did Americans respond to the nation's changing role in world affairs at this time?
  •  How did issues and concerns at home shape American policies and actions abroad?
  •  How did America project its power beyond its own borders?



Toolbox: The Gilded and the Gritty: America, 1870-1912
Memory | Progress | People | Power | Empire


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