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Down the Santa Fe Trail to the City Upon a Hill

Down the Santa Fe Trail to the City Upon a Hill Abstract: The city upon a hill can be seen as one of the nation's earliest and most enduring symbols of expansion. Conceived as an anxious trade-off between obligation and ambition, Winthrop's model of a New World community looked to the common good of close settlement while pushing the frontier ever westward. The result was an insistent dialectic between civilization and savagery, renewal, and degeneration—and the recurring nature of this dialectic helped to shape a number of western narratives. Easily the most radical was Susan Shelby Magoffin's journal of the Santa Fe Trail (1846–47). Both thrilled and unmoored by a life of constant flux, Magoffin developed a distinctly feminine view of the city upon a hill—what might be called a "displaced domesticity"—which brought it into alignment with a nation about to transform Winthrop's famous model into manifest destiny. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Down the Santa Fe Trail to the City Upon a Hill

Western American Literature , Volume 45 (2) – Aug 13, 2010

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: The city upon a hill can be seen as one of the nation's earliest and most enduring symbols of expansion. Conceived as an anxious trade-off between obligation and ambition, Winthrop's model of a New World community looked to the common good of close settlement while pushing the frontier ever westward. The result was an insistent dialectic between civilization and savagery, renewal, and degeneration—and the recurring nature of this dialectic helped to shape a number of western narratives. Easily the most radical was Susan Shelby Magoffin's journal of the Santa Fe Trail (1846–47). Both thrilled and unmoored by a life of constant flux, Magoffin developed a distinctly feminine view of the city upon a hill—what might be called a "displaced domesticity"—which brought it into alignment with a nation about to transform Winthrop's famous model into manifest destiny.

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Aug 13, 2010

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