Midwestern history was once a robust field of study but it went into steep decline in the decades after World War II. In recent years, led by newly formed organizations such as the Midwestern History Association and journals such as Middle West Review, the field has undergone a revival. To give shape to this revival and to guide future research it is useful to set forth a model of midwestern identity as it had developed by the late nineteenth-century. Important components of this model include understandings of the role of the Northwest Ordinance, the agrarian and small-town nature of the early Midwest, the influences of the Civil War, the region's dense civic and democratic culture, the prominence of Christianity, and the emergence of an urban/industrial Midwest. For a comprehensive understanding of midwestern history, these components of a prominent midwestern identity must be fused with the research trends of recent decades, which have emphasized the stories of African Americans, Native Americans, workers, women, and other groups important to midwestern history, especially in recent years. A successful and balanced fusion of these various threads of midwestern history could yield a broad and workable historiographic synthesis useful to many other subfields of history.


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pp. 63-133
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