The development of a Western identity, derivative and evolved from Northern, Midwestern, and Southern identities, played a significant role in determining the loyalty of the Pacific States on the eve of the Civil War. Western identity shared the same tenets as the other sections: property rights, republicanism, and economic and political autonomy. The experiences of the 1850s, though, separated Westerners from the North and the South, including their debates over slavery, black exclusion, and Indian policy. These experiences helped formulate the foundations of a Western identity, and when Southern identity challenged Western political autonomy by the mid-1850s, political violence and antiparty reactions through vigilantism and duels threw Western politics into chaos as the divided Democratic Party, split over the Lecompton Controversy, struggled to maintain control. With the election of 1860, Lincoln's victory in California and Oregon were the result of this chaos, and Westerners remained loyal to the North due to economic ties and Southern challenges to Western political autonomy. On the eve of the Civil War, the West was secured through the efforts of Republicans, but the belief in economic freedom from a slave labor system and federal aid for Indian campaigns played a significant role in forming a Western identity determined to remain in the Union.
|Advisor:||Huston, James L.|
|Commitee:||Byrnes, Joseph F., Moses, George, Perkins, Stephen|
|School:||Oklahoma State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black history, American history|
|Keywords:||American west, Black exclusion, Civil war, Loyalty, Political violence, Sectionalism|
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