Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America

TitleGunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsSlotkin, Richard
Number of Pages862
CityNew York

Gunfighter Nation completes Richard Slotkin’s trilogy on the myth of the American frontier. Slotkin examines an impressive array of sources – fiction, Hollywood westerns, and the writings of Hollywood figures and Washington leaders – to show how the racialist theory of Anglo-Saxon ascendance and superiority (embodied in Theodore Roosevelt’s The Winning of the West), rather than Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis of the closing of the frontier, exerted the most influence in popular culture and government policy making in the twentieth century. He argues that Roosevelt’s view of the frontier myth provided the justification for most of America’s expansionist policies, from Roosevelt’s own Rough Riders to Kennedy’s counterinsurgency and Johnson’s war in Vietnam.

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