'Home on the Range,' anti-Semitism, vigilantism in Great Plains Quarterly

Released on 11/30/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., November 30th, 2011 —

         In the fall issue of Great Plains Quarterly, an academic journal published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researchers wrote about the search for the author of "Home on the Range," anti-Semitism and politics in Colorado, and vigilantism over land in Nebraska Territory.

            In "From 'No Place' to Home: The Quest for a Western Home in Brewster Higley's 'Home on the Range'," C. M. Cooper explores the quest to determine the original author of "Home on the Range." "The sense of ownership that so many Americans have felt for this song is a testament to its ability to express an ideal that has had a deep and enduring grip on the American imagination," wrote Cooper, a recent master's degree recipient of Concordia University.

            Michael Lee studied the economic and political turmoil in 1890s Colorado and the ensuing rise of anti-Semitism in "Guggenheim for Governor: Anti-Semitism, Race, and the Politics of Gilded Age Colorado." He uses newspaper political cartoons and editorials from the period to support his argument that "anti-Semitism was an important theme in the political discourse during the 1898 gubernatorial campaign of Jewish industrialist Simon Guggenheim." Lee is a history doctoral student at the University of Colorado.

            In "Public Opinion Is More Than Law: Popular Sovereignty and Vigilantism in the Nebraska Territory," Sean M. Kammer, visiting assistant professor of environmental and natural resources law at Lewis and Clark Law School, discusses the creation of the Kansas and Nebraska territories and the tensions over the slavery issue. He described one effect of these tensions was the rise of vigilantism practiced by "claim clubs" to secure land in and near Omaha. "The claim club often employed violence and intimidation to secure not only the economic interests of Omaha's most prominent citizens but also those of Eastern speculators," said Kammer.

            Current issues of the journal may be purchased in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the center at 402-472-3082. Order forms are available online at www.unl.edu/plains.

Writer: Linda Ratcliffe, Center for Great Plains Studies, 402-472-3965

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