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Thematic Study




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Historic Landmarks

History and Prehistory in the
National Park System and the
National Historic Landmarks Program

The Thematic Framework
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I. The Thematic Framework

X. Westward Expansion of the British Colonies and the United States, 1763-1898

This theme embraces the expansion of the British colonies and the United States from the crest of the Appalachians across the North American continent and into the Pacific Ocean, between the Proclamation of 1763 and the end of the Spanish-American War.

A. British and United States Explorations of the West

Included in this subtheme are the activities of military and civilian explorers west of the Appalachians from the 1760s to the early 1870s.

1. Early Pathfinders, 1763-1807
2. Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806
3. Scientific and Topographic Surveys

B. The Fur Trade

This subtheme encompasses the history of the American fur trade west of the Appalachians from the days of the "long hunters" in Kentucky in the 1760s through the activities of the fur seal and sea otter trappers in Alaskan waters during the late 1890s.

1. Old Northwest and Mississippi Valley Fur Frontier, 1763-1815
2. Fur Trappers and Mountain Menu as Pathfinders
3. John Jacob Astor and the American Fur Company, 1808-1840
4. Rocky Mountain Rendezvous Era, 1824-1839 (including Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 1822-1834)
5. Southwest Fur Trade
6. Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Coast Fur Trade
7. Alaska Fur Trade

C. Military-Aboriginal American Contact and Conflict

This subtheme covers the relations between the British colonies and the United States with the aboriginal peoples west of the Appalachians (including military confrontations and conflicts) from 1763 to 1891.

1. East of the Mississippi, 1763-1850s
2. The Southern Plains
3. The Northern Plains
4. The Southwest
5. The Western Mountains
6. The Pacific Coast

D. Western Trails and Travelers

Included in this subtheme are the development of commercial and migratory trails westward and the history of their use and users.

1. First Westward Trails East of the Mississippi
2. Santa Fe Trail
3. Oregon Trail and Settlement of Oregon
4. California Trails and Settlement of California
5. Mormon Migration and Settlement of the Great Basin

E. The Mining Frontier

This subtheme treats all phases of the history of mining west of the Appalachians from the mid-18th century until the end of the 19th.

1. California Gold Rush
2. Northwest: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana
3. Southwest: Arizona and Mew Mexico
4. Great Basin: Nevada, Utah, and Eastern California
5. Rockies: Colorado and Wyoming
6. Black Hills of South Dakota
7. Alaskan Gold Rushes

F. The Farmers' Frontier

This subtheme addresses thus extension of agriculture from the Appalachians to the Pacific coast between the end of the French and Indian War and the close of the 19th century, when most cheap land suitable for farming had been appropriated.

1. Farming Frontier of the Old Northwest, 1763-1820
2. Settling and Farming tine Eastern Prairies, 1820-1861
3. Later Settlements and Farming in the California Valley, Oregon, and Washington
4. Settling and Farming in the Great Plains, 1862-1900

G. The Cattlemen's Empire

This subtheme is concerned with the history of the cattle industry west of the Appalachians, which reached its apogee in the Great Plains during the latter half of the 19th century. Major phases include the large open Texas ranges of the 1860s and the transition to the enclosed holdings of the large cattle companies in the 1880s.

1. Great Trail Drives, 1866-1885
2. The Cow Towns, 1866-1885
3. Ranches

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