Policing and Policymaking on the Range

Karen R. Merrill

in Public Lands and Political Meaning

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780520228627
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926882 | DOI:
Policing and Policymaking on the Range

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This chapter describes how Theodore Roosevelt and like-minded writers saw manly virtues in the ranchers' way of life, but Roosevelt and others also believed that only the agricultural settlement of the West, with its emphases on private landownership and improvements, would bring the frontier region into the nation. The spread of the cattle industry over the northern plains only became possible with the destruction of the bison population and the suppression of Native Americans. The dichotomy in Roosevelt's description of the ranching industry of the late nineteenth century would continue into the public land debates in the early twentieth century. The public domain, both Richards and Mead believed, had to be tied to a homestead or a home ranch. The homesteader — also known as the “home-builder,” the “home-maker,” and the “little fellow” — would do more political work for ranchers in the early twentieth century than they could ever have imagined.

Keywords: Theodore Roosevelt; agricultural settlement; private landownership; cattle industry; ranching industry; public land; policymaking; policing

Chapter.  8948 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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