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Jesse James, The Most Influential Criminal In Old Western History

1476 words - 6 pages

My historical figure is Jesse James. Jesse is from the Old Western time period. Jesse is a notorious bank robber. He is viewed by many as the American Robin Hood. There are few who don’t know his name. He is arguably the most known and influential criminal known to Old Western American history.

September 5, 1847, in Kearney, Missouri marked the birth of Jesse James. Jesse was brought up by a very renowned farming family. He and his brother Frank received a great education. His father Robert James, ironically a baptist reverend, and his mother Zerelda Cole James. James and Frank joined the Confederate guerrilla soldiers when Jesse was 16. They were alongside William Quantrill and “Bloody Bill” Anderson. Some say the harsh treatment of the union soldiers turned James against the cause; forcing him to become a rebel. Though he was a criminal he is viewed by many in a very positive light and/or manner. His strategic ways and his ability to evade the authorities and bounty hunters is the notoriety. The folk tales about him stealing from the rich and giving back to the poor and in need is the legend. It is indeed a fact that he is a very controversial figure in American History. Views upon him vary per person, however everyone has and will speak about him regardless of their views. Many other old western criminals wanted to be him. However, none succeeded in fully becoming the phenomenon that is Jesse James.

Jesse James joined the confederate soldiers in the spring of 1863. Some say when Jesse and Frank were in the confederate soldiers the harsh treatment they received was what led them to the life of crime they soon had led. This birthed the influential figure of the wild west so to speak. This event “sparked the flame” that is the legend of Jesse James.

In early 1870 is when Jesse started his infamous life of crime. This event is the reason why he is famous. If Jesse had not turned to a life of crime he wouldn’t be famous at all! The whole legend started with this very event. This is by far the most important event besides his birth. This is one of the most interesting stories ever told. One who is praised for negative activity. Murder, Theft, and many crimes are talked about in a positive “light”. Society is very backwards when it comes to Jesse James his gang and many other outlaws of that time. Why, it boggles my mind every time it comes to my mind.

In September 1876 he and his gang attempted to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. This event added to James’ notoriety. Most of his gang were either killed or badly wounded. His wanted level was raised so high at the time he, his family, and his brother Frank moved to Tennessee. This is why they had such a hold on the American injustice system. They had a wide range of places where they robbed banks. They never stayed in one place for too long. this is another reason why police and bounty hunters couldn’t get a hold on him. Constant migration was a very intelligent...

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