|How the West was won: “Enlightened” Christian warfare in the 19th century – Massacre of Native American women and children in Idaho|
But you have there the myth of the essential white America. All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.
(The backdrop of this quote is the notion of the West as a terra nullius—” no man’s land” – & those who pushed forward to claim and exploit this notion sought to make it so by exterminating its indigenous peoples. The reality is American West became, given how it was won, a New World heart of darkness. In how it was brought into being and incorporated into the United States of America, the West stands as a flip side to the much-paraded notion of American exceptionalism. The main instruments of its creation were violence, brutality, dishonesty and dispossession. D. H. Lawrence was spot on)