chapter  14
34 Pages

The Industrial Far West: Region and Nation in the Late Nineteenth Century

ByDavid Igler

This chapter attempts to merge two perspectives and explores how people understand the region's rapid incorporation within the context of the larger industrializing nation. It utilizes the large-scale firms at the center of far western industrialization to explore regional characteristics within a national context. The corporations shared several fundamental traits. First, built with private capital, western firms utilized public officials and the larger political state to secure vast holdings of land and natural resources. Second, investment capital and industrial entrepreneurship were remarkably dynamic; many companies created vertical production chains and spun off subsidiaries in different business sectors. Third, the corporations operated out of metropolitan cores and incorporated peripheral hinterlands into urban markets and business networks. Finally, industrial enterprise in the Far West thrived by engineering natural landscapes and mobilizing large labor forces.