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 Westit was never called a showtoured 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.
- How does the "Programme" portray the West?
- According to the "Programme," what are the values of the West?
- What skills did the West inculcate in Americans? How are these valuable for a world power?
- How does the "Programme" attest to the West's incorporation into industrial America?
- How does the "Programme" portray Indians?
- How does Buffalo Bill's Wild West project America onto the rest of the world?