How the west was won

by Andrea Elizabeth

I caught a little of the re-airing of Ken Burns’s Roosevelts and decided to read at least a little of Theodore Roosevelt’s The Winning of the West. The documentary prepared me for Teddy’s belief in Darwin’s survival of the fittest and how war proved it. The Forward  bears this out,

“In the year 1898 the United States finished the work begun over a century before by the backwoodsman, and drove the Spaniard outright from the western world. During the march of our people from the crests of the Alleghanies to the Pacific, the Spaniard was for a long period our chief white opponent; and after an interval his place among our antagonists was taken by his Spanish-American heir. Although during the Revolution the Spaniard at one time became America’s friend in the sense that he was England’s foe, he almost from the outset hated and dreaded his new ally more than his old enemy. In the peace negotiations at the close of the contest he was jealously eager to restrict our boundaries to the line of the Alleghanies; while even during the concluding years of the war the Spanish soldiers on the upper Mississippi were regarded by the Americans in Illinois as a menace no less serious than the British troops at Detroit.

In the opening years of our national life the Western backwoodsman found the Spanish ownership of the mouth of the Mississippi even more hurtful and irksome than the retention by the British king of the posts on the Great Lakes.”
Excerpt From: Roosevelt, Theodore. “The Winning of the West, Volume 1.” iBooks. 

Later he talks about how the proponents of expansion always won out over the opposition, which he characterized merely as doomsayers who were proved wrong. Whether America was providentially inspired or not is beyond my kin, but I’m not as bully confident as he was. Is anyone?

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