Myth of the American Frontier

Topics: Frontier, Frontier Thesis, Frederick Jackson Turner Pages: 3 (1080 words) Published: November 5, 2008
Perhaps the most significant myth in American culture is that of the American frontier. Its symbolic meaning created such moral, ethical, and emotional values in American that it paved the way for a country that would grow from an East Coast settlement, to a coast-to-coast nation of progress. One of the most famous stories in frontier mythology is that of Paul Bunyan. Although Bunyan’s stories didn’t appear on paper until the early twentieth century, his stories were passed down by word of mouth telling the tale of the “Last of the Frontier Demigods.” “Paul Bunyan was the most famous folk hero of his time, and a symbol of American size, strength, and ingenuity.” He influenced the culture of our country in three ways: in oral folk tales, in popularizations, and in works of art.” Although these traditions are separate from each other, they are closely interwoven. He was the American frontiersman who was mythically responsible for developing the west. He would take his giant axe and clear hundreds of acres a day to make way for civilization on the frontier. By his side was his blue ox, which is said to be responsible for plowing the Grand Canyon and assisting with other western marvels.

The Frontier is a prominent symbol of American culture. Although it intimidated the colonists and later Americans, it did not prevent us from spreading. What drove us was the idea of unlimited free land, a sense of unlimited opportunity, optimism, and the shredding restraints. The idea of the frontier was significant in American culture between 1860 and 1893 because it was considered by many to be “the last frontier.” Since the beginning of the European settlements, Westward expansion had always served as an inspiration to those dreaming to start a new life. With the last of the frontier being absorbed into civilization, its importance to the American people rose more than ever. Frederick Jackson Turner said that this closing of the frontier “marks the closing of a great...
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