Jackson's Frontier- and Turner's

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“Jackson’s Frontier-and Turner’s” Historians are seen as individuals telling the common folks of the world, in this case the common folk of the United States, the events of the past. Historians do not just regurgitate facts, they create a narrative; mostly made up of facts, but also from their perspective. What individuals do not realize is historians do not miraculously know the information; they must research the information from evidence, from a certain period, making historians a type of detective. A detective investigates evidence to decipher the events that took place; just like a historian. In Jackson’s Frontier-and Turner’s, each historians individual perspective, and their present circumstances, had an impact on the evidence they used for their research, and the outlook they had on the evidence about Andrew Jackson and what kind of man he was seen as. Each historian’s ideas about Andrew Jackson stemmed from Fredrick Turner’s frontier hypothesis. Thomas Perkins Abernethy disagreed with Turner’s hypothesis. Turner saw frontiersmen as people who used the West as a “safety valve” to escape the oppressing East (Davidson and Lytle 103). Abernethy refuted Turner’s perspective by pointing out that the West was not just a safety valve, but also a place for powerful men to expand their fortune. Turner viewed Jackson as the epitome of the frontiersmen, whereas Abernethy viewed him as a “gentleman” and aristocrat, much like the men in the East (Davidson and Lytle 109). Abernethy and Turner were part of the same period. Abernethy had been one of Turner’s students making their evidences similar, but each had a different individual perspective. Arthur Schlesinger Jr., believed Abernethy and Turner focused too much on Jackson’s western roots, and not enough on his eastern sources. He sought to create a balanced view between his and Turner’s theory; both the country and the cities importance to the rise of American civilization (Davidson and Lytle 112).


Bibliography: Davidson, James West and Lytle, Mark Hamilton After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

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