Class and Community in Frontier Colorado
With a New Preface by the Author
Studies in Historical Social Change
Sales Date: October 8, 2021
272 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: October 2021
- Open access ebook available
- Published: July 1990
Spurred by the Gold Rush of 1859, settlers of diverse backgrounds and nationalities trekked to Colorado and began building towns. Existing accounts of their struggles and those of townbuilders throughout the American West focus on boom-or-bust economics, rampant boosterism, and bitter social conflicts. This, according to sociologist Richard Hogan, is not the whole story.
In Class and Community in Frontier Colorado Hogan offers a fresh perspective on the frontier townbuilding experience. He argues that townbuilding in Colorado was not, as some have suggested, monopolized by local boosters or national business interests. It was, instead, a complex, dynamic process that reflected competition, cooperation, and conflict among various socioeconomic classes, and between local and national business interests as well.
Hogan shows how farmers, ranchers, miners, tradesmen, merchants, bankers, entrepreneurs, land speculators, and eastern investors all vied for control in six of Colorado’s emerging urban centers: Denver, Central City, Greeley, Golden, Pueblo, and Canon City. Meticulously he traces the conflicts and coalitions that arose in and among these groups.
By combining historical sociology with local history, Hogan’s study challenges current thinking about economic development, class structure and conflict, political partisanship, collective action, and social change in the American West.
"Hogan’s book is recommended reading, because his economic/political approach to the classification of frontier communities is unique and workable, and his Colorado examples are colorful. He has given readers a fine social history that can be used as a case study for research in other areas of the West."—Journal of the West
"This is a fine book in which the author offers a model of community development aimed at transcending the conflict and consensus dichotomy that has informed historical studies of community since the 1950s."—Western Historical Quarterly
"A model of how to use local social history to address important theoretical issues. For anyone interested in local social history, the American frontier, class formation, or class politics, this book is well worth reading."—Contemporary Sociology
"Not only is this book a fine piece of historical sociology, but it also offers a number of insights into more contemporary processes of change. Anyone with an interest in frontier or Colorado history will find this book satisfying reading."—American Journal of Sociology
"Hogan’s study deserves the serious consideration of every student and scholar of the later American frontier. [His] interpretations are both interesting and enlightening."—Choice
"A significant contribution to historical sociology that shows how economic/class relations within frontier communities determined the shape of the political system."—Scott McNall, author of The Road to Rebellion: Class Formation and Kansas Populism, 1865–1900
"Hogan has successfully rooted his analysis in the actual experience of frontier Colorado and shows a sensitivity to the nuance of the historical record that is often missing from retrospective testing of social science theory."—Carl Abbott, author of Colorado: A History of the Centennial State and Boosters and Businessmen
List of Illustrations and Tables
Preface to the Kansas Open Books Edition
1. Class Structure and Conflict in Frontier Colorado
Part One: Carnival Towns of Colorado
2. Denver: The Carnival Capital
3. Central City: Supply Town for the Mines
4. Greeley: Dry Farming and Utopian Capitalism
Part Two: Caucus Towns of Colorado
5. Golden: Denver's Western Rival
6. Pueblo: Skins, Steers, and Steel Center
7. Canon City: Gateway to the Southern Rockies
8. The Enduring Legacy of the American Frontier