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Charles Wilkinson views the history of the American West as being divided into three periods. The First West existed when only the American Indians occupied the land. The Second West began with the California Gold Rush and the rapid settlement of the region. The Third West began at the end of World War II when the American West experienced explosive growth that transformed the region from a largely rural environment to an urban environment. In this lecture, Wilkinson explores the question of whether the region is about to enter a new period, the Fourth West, when “we finally do know what we have and what we have to lose.”
Charles Wilkinson is a Distinguished University Professor and the Moses Lasky Professor of Law at the University of Colorado. He has authored or co-authored fourteen books on law, history, and society in the American West, including The Eagle Bird, Crossing the Next Meridian, Fire on the Plateau, Messages From Frank’s Landing, and Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations.