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The South and the West, Part 1

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The South and the West, Part 1

By Clyde Wilson on May 6, 2015

 When our ever-wise leader set up a program on the American West, he obviously had in mind the geographic west of North America—the Great Plains, mountains, and Pacific coast beyond the Colorado, Red, Arkansas, and Missouri rivers. But when Americans emerged onto the Great Plains in the second third of the 19th century, they were already the inheritors of two centuries of American Westering. The further West was but the last phase of this experience. Permit me in my two talks to deal mostly with that two century prelude, which is where my knowledge and my bent lie.

When settlers moved up the rivers of Tidewater Virginia in the 1600s to hack tobacco plantations out of the forest, that was West. When in the early 1700s Charleston traders sent pack trains overland to Mobile on the Gulf and Natchez on the Mississippi River that was West. When at the time of the American Revolution Daniel Boone gathered a wagon train on the Yadkin River in the middle of North Carolina to lead the first large party of settlers over into Kentucky, that was West.      :snip:      https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/the-south-and-the-west-part-1/

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The South and the West, Part 2

By Clyde Wilson on May 13, 2015

It seems my mission here is to bring to your attention unfamiliar and unfashionable truths about American history. Let me give you another one. The American West, the frontier, was NOT conquered and settled by a “Nation of Immigrants.” George Washington was already the fifth generation of his family in Virginia, as were most of his neighbours.

There was a wave of Scots-Irish immigration before the Revolution. Thereafter, for almost a century, there was a trickle of immigrants but no wave. Not until the late 1840s, with the Irish potato famine and the Continental revolutions of 1848, was there another wave of immigrants large enough to change the character of the people. During that low-immigration century, the American population quadrupled—by natural increase of the original settlers—and civilised an immense area. Americans were a vigorous people with big families. For every son to inherit the family farm in the East there were four or five others who might look west for setting themselves up in life. The only Melting Pot going on was some mingling of different groups of the pre-Revolutionary settlers.   :snip:  https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/clyde-wilson-library/the-south-and-the-west-part-2/

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