From Panic to Empire
In This Chapter
Western agriculture and the day of the cowboy
The triumph of capitalism and the rise of philanthropy
The phrase Wild West has become so worn with use that it’s hard to say the second word without adding the first to it. The spirit that marked the West pervaded national life during the years following the Civil War. If the West had its cowboys and its outlaws, so did the world of big business and power politics in such cities as New York and Washington. Fortunes were made and lost, it seemed, overnight. A wealth of new inventions suddenly materialized, accelerating American life to a pace many found increasingly frenzied. And if tycoons and inventors were pulling the strings, working men and women were often the ones being jerked around.