The Schlager Anthology of Westward Expansion: A Student’s Guide to Essential Primary Sources

Schlager. (Schlager Anthologies for Students). Feb. 2022. 300p. ed. by Jennifer Koshatka Seman. ISBN 9781935306603. $145. REF
This fifth Schlager Anthology for Students sheds light on the United States’ westward expansion through 77 primary-source documents. Seman (history, Metropolitan State Univ. of Denver; Borderlands Curanderos) works with multiple contributing scholars to contextualize speeches, correspondence, and essays by white colonists as well as historically marginalized people (including Black and Indigenous Americans). The documents include Thomas Jefferson’s second inaugural address; Frederick Douglass’s “Our Composite Nation” speech; the 1862 Homestead Act; and Nicholas Black Elk’s essay “The Butchering at Wounded Knee.” They’re organized into four chapters whose subtitles (“Conquering the West”; “Remaking the West”; “Extending Conquest Overseas”; “Remembering and Representing the West”) seem to reflect a white, Christian, Eurocentric lens. Each chapter includes a concise overview of its topic and a list of further reading. The primary sources are abridged so that none is longer than 800 words, and each document is accompanied by a sidebar (with the name of the author and the date, type, and significance of the document), a summary, a glossary, and short-answer study questions. Many of the documents are accompanied by reproductions of historical photographs and illustrations.
VERDICT A valuable resource for high schoolers and undergraduates researching “Manifest Destiny” in the U.S.
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