The West's measurable federal heritage, the actual source of much of its growing economic and political power and influence, is still decried by many, while the opaquer frontier heritage remains a fountainhead for individualistic visions of the regional and national future. That is the paradox of history and memory in the America's West
The West and America addresses politics, economics, demography, culture, and race relations during the Progressive Era, 1920s, Great Depression and New Deal, World War II, and early Cold War years. In addition, the talk examines immigration and deportation policy (especially during the 1930s, the so-called “repatriation” initiatives), populism, civil liberties, working class and labor history, and environment and natural resources. The focus is on the tension between the central role that the federal government played in building the modern West and the celebration of unbridled individualism that has nonetheless continued to define the region.