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Week One - Regional Approach to History

Online Resources

Each week we will present web referrals to provide you with additional information for both your research and your classrooms. This week the websites featured are from Louisiana State University Library and The Library of Congress. Read through the brief tutorial on primary sources, and then proceed to view the online collection.

The online digital collections give us a snapshot of what was known about the Northwest region before European exploration of the region. Because of the absence of written documentation there are no major archives of maps or documents from the Northwest prior to 1790, except along the coast.
    Despite our general orientation from the vantage point of Virginia or Pennsylvania, much of what was known, or conjectured, about the Northwest at this time originated from Louisiana; ergo, this is where we will begin. Take some time to look at the actual documents assembled here that were critical to explorations and settlement of the Northwest region.

Our Top ‘Suggested Reading’ Picks

Cronon, William, George Miles, Jay Gitlin. "Becoming West: Toward a New Meaning for Western History" in Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992.
This essay resonates with several of the required readings for this unit. Cronon, et al. address the central questions current western historians are engaging.

Milner, Clyde A. "The View From Wisdom: Four Layers of History and Regional Identity" in Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America's Western Past. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992.
Defines regional identity (and the idea of regionalism) in the context of a particular place: Wisdom, Montana.

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. "Some Reflections on the New History" American Historical Review 94 no.3 (1989): pp. 661-670.
A brief but thorough discussion of the similarities and differences between the “old” and the “new” history.

Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf, 2005.
A wonderful new overview, written by a journalist, of all recent information about who was here (in both North and South America), how many of them there were, and what influence they had over their environment prior to the arrival of Columbus.

Calloway, Colin G. One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
Extensive overview of the Indian presence in North America prior to Lewis and Clark; a good example of integrative research.


Lecture Maps People Research Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 4 Unit 5