The West

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Influenced by Patricia Nelson Limerick’s Denial and Dependence, one may find faults and misconceptions in Frederick Jackson Turner’s “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”. Turner proposes that the West was independent from the instruction and influence of the East while Limerick gives many examples of the West’s dependence on the East and how the federal government played a key role in the development of the Western frontier. Limerick gives insights that weaken the “tradition of independence” (Limerick 575). Her critiquing of Turner alters one’s perspective of how independent the West really was by discussing slavery, economic development, and psychological restraints on rebirth. Limerick points out that the settlers who were establishing the West were originally Easterners (Limerick 573) and continued to desire the benefits of living in an eastern state with a dependable government. These people knew what it was like to be a citizen as opposed to an early settler on the ungoverned frontier. They had known the benefits of having a senator and representatives in Congress, an advantage unknown to the territories out west. This point of view from the new westerners “did not heighten one’s independence, but lessened it” (Limerick 573). The people from the east begrudged being part of a territory instead of a state (Limerick 573). The governing that the West was receiving was comparable to what the South had been given as a punishment after the Civil War (Limerick 573). These Easterner settlers were the people pushing for territorial statehood, and more importantly, for a connection with the east and the federal government. Turner reasons that American development in the frontier began separate from the East (Turner 531). Limerick contests this due to the theory that the settlers started their “perennial rebirth” (Turner 531), as Turner would say, with a strong connection to the East. The settlers from the East did not want to forget...
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