Congregationalist Richard Cordley and the Impact of New England Cultural Imperialism in Kansas, 1857-1904
Other International and Area Studies
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AbstractWhat constitutes an authentic western hero? The archetypal image of the Jeffersonian ideal, the yeoman pioneer farmer who brought all the benefits of the American republic to the West, was the quintessential western hero until the Civil War era. Following this destructive period in American history, the armed gunfighter or cowboy replaced the yeoman farmer as the popular image of what it meant to be a western hero. But what about the clergy? As a major social force throughout the nineteenth century, religion proved an important factor in the settlement of the American West. Yet the idea of a religious figure as a western hero has never emerged in the popular culture adaptations of the Western, since the clergy are usually portrayed as gentle, "soft," or even somewhat effeminate.