In 1872, more than 200,000 cattle passed through Ellsworth, Kansas. The town only had a thousand residents, but boosters and merchants were already speaking of Ellsworth as the next great western metropolis. Yet the town was never unified on the cattle trade's desirability. Ellsworth's farmers saw the cattle trade as a nuisance, and doubted the loyalty of its promoters to the community's long term interests. Their suspicions were confirmed when the cattle trade declined, and many of the town's boosters left in search of the next Ellsworth. In response, the town's remaining residents developed an ideology that emphasized the honesty, hard-work, and the respectability of humble farmers. Using the lens of the town's newspaper, the Ellsworth Reporter, Specht argues that the highly-mobile community of merchants and boosters circulating around towns such as Ellsworth were crucial to the economic development of the American West, but were also the drivers of social conflict that would ultimately be productive of an inward-looking ideology.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2017|