Bridges to the Future: After the Gold Rush
This is a sample content policy.
Keynote speaker: Susan Schulten, professor of history at the University of Denver, and contributor to the "Disunion" series in the New York Times Congress created the Colorado Territory in 1861, in the midst of a grave secession crisis that threatened the very survival of the Union. In fact, the regional and national stories are deeply intertwined, for the sectional conflict that led to the Civil War was in no small part a struggle to control the land, resources, and identity of the American West. This turbulent context makes the founding of the University of Denver— in an unstable town of dwindling numbers at the western edge of the Great Plains—seem rather unlikely. The drive to shape the territory in the image of the east goes a long way toward explaining the origins of the first institution of higher learning in Colorado.