chapter  Chapter 3
50 Pages

The Cities of the Prairie and the Greater West

WithDaniel J. Elazar

The variety of frontier experiences in the cities of the prairie is limited and conditioned by their common location in the eastern half of the greater West. American sectionalism does indeed emerge as a product of the interaction between the frontier process and “raw” geography. The sphere also contains the dominant manufacturing regions in the United States. While the manufacturing belt continues beyond the limits of the greater Northeast, the great contiguous bloc of manufacturing counties ends along approximately the same line. The greater West is visibly marked off by its geometric pattern of land use, a legacy of the federal land survey system which permanently imposed its rectangular pattern on all human settlement in the sphere when it was first opened up for colonization. One of the most lasting and influential characteristics of the greater West is its persisting frontier tradition. The combination of nationalism and state loyalties is quite apparent in the cities of the prairie.