The Frontier, Manifest Destiny, and The American West

The expansion of the United States and the displacement of Native Americans were bound up in the idea of Manifest Destiny.

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American brilliance at the St. Louis World’s Fair: Libbey’s Punch Bowl
American brilliance at the St. Louis World’s Fair: Libbey’s Punch Bowl

This dazzling, prismatic, brilliant cut glass creates a universe of pattern and reflection.

Settling the American Eden, <em>The Oxbow</em>
Settling the American Eden, The Oxbow

Not content to merely paint the land, Cole elevated the landscape to approach the status of historical painting.

Custer’s Last Stand — from the Lakota perspective
Custer’s Last Stand — from the Lakota perspective

What most American students learn about as Custer's Last Stand was the last great victory for the Lakota people.

Dignity in the face of injustice: <em>The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas</em>
Dignity in the face of injustice: The White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas

This dignified portrait of a Native leader belies the cruel treatment he endured at the time of its painting.

The Trail of Tears, Titus Kaphar’s <em>The Cost of Removal</em>
The Trail of Tears, Titus Kaphar’s The Cost of Removal

Kaphar takes a violent history and renders it visible in this modified portrait of Andrew Jackson.

The closing of the frontier and <em>The Fall of the Cowboy</em>
The closing of the frontier and The Fall of the Cowboy

Remington mourns the decline of the cowboy by depicting the very thing that destroyed his iconic lifestyle.

Wilderness, settlement, and American identity
Wilderness, settlement, and American identity

Cole feared for the American landscape as his country expanded westward.