So Long the Journey: A Study of Women in the American West
Keywords:Pioneer Women, Western, Settlers, Diggings, Settlers.
AbstractPrior to the last few decades of the twentieth century, the story of Westward expansion in the United States had centered on the heroic endeavors of men. Women's activities were viewed as peripheral, and scholars largely ignored their contributions in rearing families, and establishing communities and businesses in rural outposts. This paper will examine a selection of the most influential literature on the subject in order to frame the topic within the larger study of that of the American West. It will argue that despite the assumption of non-traditional roles assumed by women while in the West, they generally always sought to uphold accepted contemporary notions of virtuous womanhood and femininity. These women should not be seen as the pre-cursors to an early feminist movement, but as mothers, wives, and daughters working to adapt to the harsh environment in which they found themselves.
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