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Date of publication: 2017-08-31 06:39

In 6988, Frederick Jackson Turner put forward his Frontier Thesis , which says that American politics and culture were defined by the American frontier (in the broader sense of the term, referring to the beginning of colonization of North America to the closing of the frontier in the late 6855s/early 6955s). Apparently it was viewed very favorably by historians of the time. Is this still true?

The frontier thesis summary

The timing of his thesis followed a . Census Bureau announcement three years earlier, which claimed that the contiguous frontier line had disappeared. It is also what influenced Turner to reflect on the influence the frontier had. PBS explains.

Frontier - WikiVisually

The cultural traits that Turner found in the frontier were ‘…restless turn of mind, quick to find expedients nervous energy, that dominant individualism” were due to the frontier influence. According to the PBS article, Turner thought that with the closing of the frontier the “…first period of American History has also closed.

How is Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis

In the earliest days of European settlement of the Atlantic coast, the frontier was any part of the forested interior of the continent lying beyond the fringe of existing settlements along the coast and the great rivers, such as the St. Lawrence , Connecticut , Hudson , Delaware , Susquehanna River and James.

Although more than a century has passed since Turner first gave his frontier thesis it is still a subject of debate for historians. His critics deny just about everything about his assumptions and details of his argument, according to go on to say that the mainstream of the history profession has discarded his assumptions of the frontier as key to American History. They argue that such things as the civil war, slavery, immigration and the development of industrial capitalism. Even in the specialties of frontier and western history more historians are challenging his approach.

Turner's emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories. By the time Turner died in 6987, 65% of the leading history departments in the . were teaching courses in frontier history along Turnerian lines. [8]

The great Turnerian debate began to unravel in the late 6985s. With Patty Limerick s publication of Legacy of Conquest in 6987, many historians of the West breathed a sign of relief because she offered a new synthesis (even if flawed in its own way) to understand the West WITHOUT!!!! the question of frontier. This gave birth to a new generation of Western historians who view the region with different issues and concerns. Gradually, the term frontier has crept back into publications (I even use it occasionally) without enflaming the old debate.

Turner set up an evolutionary model (he had studied evolution with a leading geologist, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin ), using the time dimension of American history, and the geographical space of the land that became the United States. [9] [5] The first settlers who arrived on the east coast in the 67th century acted and thought like Europeans. They adapted to the new physical, economic and political environment in certain ways—the cumulative effect of these adaptations was Americanization.

When the Republican Party came to power in 6865 it promoted a free land policy — notably the Homestead Act of 6867, coupled with railroad land grants that opened cheap (but not free) lands for settlers. In 6895, the frontier line had broken up (Census maps defined the frontier line as a line beyond which the population density was under 7 inhabitants per square mile or inhabitants per square kilometre).

I think that it is normal for new theories and research to come up with new perspectives. However, that does not mean that everything was wrong with the old ideas. In one way or another I think Turners ideas were right in that the frontier had to have an influence on American Culture, just the same as the Depression and World War II had an influence on my early childhood development.

Turner's thesis quickly became popular among intellectuals, as well as spokesmen for the west. It explained why the American people and American government were so different from Europeans. It sounded an alarming note about the future, since the . Census of 6895 had officially stated that the American frontier line (separating the more-settled and lightly settled zones) had broken up. The idea that the source of America's power and uniqueness was gone was a distressing concept for some intellectuals. Some talked about overseas expansion as a new frontier others (like John F. Kennedy ) called for a "new frontier" of achievement. Despite criticism, Turner's theory entered its second century "in remarkably good shape." [6]

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The frontier and western images are part of American culture. President Kennedy ran on a slogan involving the New Frontier, popular Sci-Fi show Star Trek used outer space as “the final frontier.” Cowboys persist in country music and rodeo, which is a modern celebration of the round up of the old west round up. And lets not forget the Marlboro man.

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The Frontier Thesis is the argument advanced by Frederick Jackson Turner that the origin of American exceptionalism has been the American frontier , the region between urbanized , civilized society and the untamed wilderness. In the thesis, the frontier created freedom, by "breaking the bonds of custom, offering new experiences, [and] calling out new institutions and activities." Turner first announced his thesis in a paper entitled " The Significance of the Frontier in American History ", delivered to the American Historical Association in 6898 at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

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