The Significance of the Frontier in American History

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Put forth by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in his paper, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” his thesis asserted that the existence of a frontier and its settlement had shaped American character; given rise to individualism, independence, and self-confidence; and fostered the American spirit of invention and adaptation. Later historians, especially a group of “New Western Historians,” modified the thesis by stating the environmental and other consequences of frontier settlement, the role of the federal government in peopling the arid West, and the clash of races and cultures that took place on the frontier. Turner’s article, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” written in 1893 explained the views of the Great West and how the Frontier changed the society of America. The Frontier Line changed political views of the Great West, known as, “the existence of an area of free land.” The frontier fortified a boundary line that runs through the dense populations, and the meeting points between savagery and civilization. Civilization entered the wilderness in the 1880s. The frontier was found in mining camps and ranches in the Great Plains. The Plymouth pilgrims settled on Indian cornfields; had lumber and beaver. River courses opened up many trades along the coast from Maine to Georgia. The Indians and England made trades; Indians were armed with guns and dependent on England while England was dominated by the trading frontier. The article, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” dealt with a lot of trading and the spread of civilization throughout the countries with different types of race and cultures.
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