Manifest Destiny Continues at American West Program this Summer

The university and Fort Collins communities are invited to enjoy talks by two men who played crucial roles in the development of America.

Abraham Lincoln and Gen. George Custer, as represented by living historians, will join a series of speakers for the 22nd American West Program at Colorado State this summer. The theme of the program, "Manifest Destiny Realized: 1850-1898," continues the exploration of Western expansion during the 1800s that was featured in last year’s program.

"Due to a scheduling conflict, Mrs. Custer unfortunately won’t be able to attend," said Harry Rosenberg, history professor and coordinator of the American West series. "But we’re looking forward to hosting a full summer of eloquent and learned historians who will present their unique views on our country’s history and Manifest Destiny in particular."

Following the opening event on June 15 on the United States’ adjudication of Spanish and Mexican land grants, Steve Alexander, foremost interpreter of Custer’s career, will present "An Evening with Gen. George Armstrong Custer" on June 22.

Alexander has traveled throughout the country presenting Custer and the history of Western expansion to children and adults and has been featured on television and in newspapers, periodicals and books. A native of Michigan, he has been recognized for his role in reenactments of the Battle of the Little Big Horn and has participated in ceremonies at the Battlefield and at historic conferences.

Alexander will present an "optimistic George Armstrong Custer" and his military, political and historical views of the country during a public address made prior to May 17, 1876, when the Seventh Cavalry marched out of Fort Abraham Lincoln to begin the fateful Centennial Campaign.

Following Custer’s appointment with destiny at Colorado State, Abraham Lincoln will give a public presentation on June 29 in the form of Harry Fritz, professor and chairman of the history department at the University of Montana. As Lincoln, Fritz will discuss his election to Congress in 1846, the height of the "Democratic Manifest Destiny fever," and his opposition to "Mr. Polk’s war." Fritz, a native of Salisbury, Md., lives in Missoula with his wife and two children.

In conjunction with the American West Program, the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center will present William Henry Jackson’s paintings and photographs from June 15-July 27. The exhibit is on loan from the Scottsbluff National Monument Museum in Gering, Neb.

In addition, the Duhesa Lounge on the second floor of the student center this summer will feature the Eagle Plume Collection, an exhibit of Native American art, and Bob Coonts will have limited edition, numbered and autographed serigraph prints on sale for $30 at the student center information desk. Call 491-6444 for gallery and student center hours.

The Fort Collins Museum will host two special displays this summer. "A Century of Cycling" will open July 1, and "Carved in Cloth: Pictorial Quilts from Colorado’s History" also will be on display. The museum is located at 200 Mathews St. and open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.

Following is a schedule of events for the American West Program. All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Programs will take place in Room C146 Plant Science Building. For more information, call Rosenberg at 491-5230.

  • June 15 – "’Not A Pepper, Not an Onion:’ United States Adjudication of Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in the Southwest," G. Emlen Hall, School of Law, University of New Mexico.
  • June 22 – "An Evening with Gen. George Armstrong Custer," Steve Alexander, Monroe, Mich.
  • June 29 – "President Abraham Lincoln and the Myths of Manifest Destiny," Harry Fritz, University of Montana.
  • July 6 – "American Religion and Manifest Destiny, 1850-1898," Ferenc Szasz, University of New Mexico.
  • July 13 – "The Civil War and its Role in the Defeat of the Western Indians," Valerie Sherer Mathes, City College of San Francisco.
  • July 20 – "Manifest Destiny, the Yellow Press and the Spanish-American War," Sandy Barnard, Terre Haute, Ind.
  • July 27 – "Theodore Roosevelt and His Rough Riders," Paul Hutton, University of New Mexico.