This year marks the 150th anniversary of the completion of America’s first transcontinental railroad. Between 1863 and 1869, two companies built a rail line across the United States. Union Pacific, starting from Council Bluffs, Iowa, built west, laying more than a thousand miles of rail; Central Pacific, starting from Sacramento, California, built east, laying nearly… MORE
19th CenturyThe West
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The decline of Native American political autonomy was the result of increasing national authority that also changed the character of the American West.
“Greater Reconstruction” is one such articulation of a broader historical approach to the themes and big questions of the traditional Reconstruction era, allowing historians, and anyone interested, a chance to gain a truly national perspective of the tumultuous post-Civil War period.
The Civil War and the American conquest of the West were two of the most important events that changed the United States in the nineteenth century; however, they often treated and taught separately in history texts and classrooms. This separate categorization is hardly surprising since, in terms of geography, the majority of the Civil War took place in the southern and border states, with little military engagement in the trans-Mississippi West that occupies the focus of most western history specialists. But is also odd, given the importance of the West to American politics and identity in the decades leading up to 1861.