Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Advisor

Stephanie Cole


The second half of the nineteenth century saw a "civilizing" trend across the rural and urban West. In Texas boosters launched myriad campaigns emphasizing the close of the western frontier and the emergence of a more modern society. This paper examines the methods used by Texas boosters to attract new residents and visitors. While all booster campaigns relied on access to railroads, rural and urban boosters used different tactics to lure settlers to their part of the state. Rural boosters extolled the virtues of a simple life where a man could be his own boss and where there is room for everyone. Boosters for Dallas and Fort Worth, however, used local businesses, fairs, and civic improvements to promote their cities. While Dallas became a cotton exchange and commercial hub, Fort Worth became a cattle market and meat packing center. Fort Worth showcased its emergence as a modern, cultured city by hosting the Texas Spring Palace exhibition, just as Dallas used the State Fair of Texas and Texas Centennial Exhibition to the same ends. Because of Dallas and Fort Worth's close proximity to each other an aggressive spirit of boosterism developed as each city competed for regional dominance. This paper explores the tactics used by boosters for both rural and urban areas and examines the success of those campaigns in transforming the Western frontier.


Arts and Humanities | History


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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