History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-13-2023


This dissertation studies various incidents of violence throughout the Southwest from 1848-1919, often called “great excitement,” revealing a “Western Civil War of Incorporation.” US incorporation designated whether people would be included or excluded from the American body politic. Violence in the Southwest between the mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries exposes deep change fueled by a relentless US drive to swallow and digest its people and resources, profiting handsomely in the process. Each chapter is a case study, culminating in a conclusion that ties them together to gain a greater understanding of American violence. They are the 1858 San Luis Obispo vigilantes, 1863 Espinosa rampage, 1871 Mesilla election riot, 1878-81 Lincoln County War, 1894-1919 southern Nevada “renegade” Paiutes, and 1918 Battle of Ambos Nogales. A pattern of transformation wrought by incorporation ultimately caused this violence, showing that societal violence is often a consequence of significant changes within society.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Durwood Ball

Second Committee Member

Samuel Truett

Third Committee Member

LM Garcia y Griego

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Herman




southwest, violence, american, west, borderlands, frontier

Document Type


Included in

History Commons