Yes, the Wild West WAS Wild

with homicide rates seven times the US average!

And violent otherwise:
"One almost cannot speak of western history without taking into account the place and power of violence in the heritage of the West."


  1. Should I go on the assumption that I should probably ignore everything ever written by libertarian historians? In your opinion, is there anything left (like by Higgs) that has really stood up?

  2. I think Bob Higgs is a good scholar. I have never researched any of his specific claims further, however. Ralph Raico seems generally good. Jeffrey Rogers Hummel's book on the Civil War impressed me as well done. _America's Great Depression_ has some interesting material in it, even if it is a little weirdly assembled.

    The big thing in historical research is to actually be doing RESEARCH: You have to come in with a question, and not an answer. Partisans of all stripes, not just libertarians, too often do the latter.

  3. I don't know why you cite this article for the claim that the West was exceedingly violent. The statement you quote is found in the article, but only as a quotation of someone else's position. The article itself argues that the West was not, in fact, the frontier of chaos scholars have often made it out to be.

  4. The person was stating what the consensus of historians is. Why does the fact he reached a different conclusion make it somehow invalid for me to extract a quote about the consensus from his abstract?

  5. Interesting... but I guess I'm glad Hummel is remaining on my reading list!

  6. And Ryan, I don't mean these are the only goods works of history by a libertarian.

    The key difference: Was it an historian who happened to be a libertarian, or was it a "libertarian historian"? The works of the former are far more likely to be good than those of the latter.


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