The True American Cowboy Essay

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The True American Cowboy       As the twentieth century approached, America was experiencing a time of considerable expansion. All eyes were looking for ways to make the United States a larger, more powerful, and more efficient country. Because of this wave in American society, there was no movement given more devotion than the settling of the West. The range-cattle industry in its various aspects, and in its importance to the United States and particularly to the Great Plains, has been a subject of focus to Americans since its origin in the mid 1800's. This industry was rendered possible by such factors as vast sections of fertile land, the rise of heavy industry involving the great demand for beef, and…show more content…
Saunders of the Texas Trail Drivers Association that of the 50,000-75,000 cowboys who helped to created the West, 25 percent were black (Porter, 1971). However, to merely state that there were 13,000-19,000 Black cowboys is inaccurate simply because the American definition of a cowboy has become distorted. To understand the role of the blacks in the West, one must first comprehend what the cattle-industry workers or cowboys truly did. To move a herd of cattle men do not simply jump on horses and scream and hit until the herd moves. Contrary to common thought, there was a very systematic hierarchy of jobs involved in being a frontiersman. The group together was referred to as the trail herd outfit. This outfit usually consisted of about a dozed men, each with an individual responsibility. As in any group, there was a leader, second in command, and then three levels of workers. Negroes occupied all positions of the cattle-industry employees, from the usually low wrangler through ordinary hand to top hand and lofty cook. However, it would never be tolerated to give the distinguished honor of ranch or trail boss to a man with colored skin. Although the Black cowboys seem to have been treated much more fairly than their relatives in other regions of the country, it must be understood that at
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