This thesis has become one of the most widely discussed and disputed ways of viewing American exceptionalism as it relates to the frontier. Nevertheless, he made it clear that his historical writing was shaped by a contemporary agenda. Since he expressly said that he was not putting a specific focus on any part of the frontier experience, this automatically discredits any of her reasons for why he left out the ladies. Looking backward, thinking ahead, careening toward the next millennium,” American Sociologist , 27 1 pp. Log In Sign Up.

Since he expressly said that he was not putting a specific focus on any part of the frontier experience, this automatically discredits any of her reasons for why he left out the ladies. He retired in but continued his research until his death in Turner’s essay shows what focused, professional practice can achieve. The most important aspect of the frontier to Turner is its effect on democracy. Wyman and Clifton B.

While fredfrick agrees that the frontier was a place, not a process, he feels that Turner should not be as openly criticized as he has been by recent historians. The numerous Indian wars provoked by American expansion belie Turner’s argument that the American “free land” frontier was a sharp contrast with European nations’ borders with other states.

how accurate was frederick jackson turners thesis about the american frontier

Corporate investors headquartered in New York laid the railroads; government troops defeated Indian nations who refused to get out of the way of manifest destiny; even the cowboys, enshrined in popular mythology as rugged loners, were generally low-level employees of sometimes foreign-owned cattle corporations.

Institutions of slavery, Puritanism, “equality of classes”, and democratic institutions have all been used as an answer to this question.

Frederick Jackson Turner: An Examination of His “Frontier Thesis” and American History

It explains it, yet is also part of it. Such sources should cover a variety of topics, including politics, population, social customs, and trade. The bison herd still lives on the grounds of Fermilab. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: This thesis has become one of the most widely discussed and disputed ways of viewing American exceptionalism as it relates to the frontier.

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Kolb and Hoddeson argue that during the heyday of Kennedy’s “New Frontier,” the physicists who built the Fermi Labs explicitly sought to recapture the excitement of the old frontier. Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the abkut, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which aboht such traits as self-reliance, individualisminventiveness, restless energy, mobility, materialism, and optimism.

Another western historian, Glenda Riley, was not as enthralled with Turner as Richard White had been.

Frontier Thesis

William Appleman Williams led the “Wisconsin School” of diplomatic historians by arguing that the frontier thesis encouraged American overseas expansion, especially in Asia, during the 20th century.

Riley wants too much of Turner. Evidently, the belief that free political institutions of the United States spawned in ancient Germanic forests endured well into the s.

His hometown of Portage, Wisconsin, once sat on the frontier itself but in Turner’s youth it became a settled town. Turner hoped that stability would replace mobility as a defining factor in the development of American society and that communities would become stronger as a result.

Her main criticism of Turner was that, whether consciously or unconsciouslyhe had left out any mention of women on the frontier. In spite of this, Turner laments, the frontier has received little serious study from historians and economists.

Frederick Jackson Turner

Significance of the frontier role in historiography In historiography: If the continent could be viewed as a map from above, he said, one could see the “stages of social evolution, from west to east” displayed by these three stages, from “savagery to civilization”. He also commented directly on the connections he saw between the past and the present.

how accurate was frederick jackson turners thesis about the american frontier

The “tools of civilization” in the Turnerian frontier were the axe and the plow, while for Cody they were the rifle and the bullet. Turner elaborated on the theme in his advanced history lectures and in a series of essays published over the next 25 years, published along with his initial paper as The Frontier in American History. The racial warfare theory was an emerging belief in the late nineteenth century advocated by Theodore Roosevelt in The Winning of the West. A Comprehensive Review p.

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The significance of the frontier in an age of transnational history. Adams, his mentor at Johns Hopkinshad argued that all significant American institutions derived from German and English antecedents. The frontier had no need for standing armies, established churches, aristocrats or nobles.

We also know now that the area of “free land” that Turner claimed for his white pioneers was not free at all, but a complex map of native American nations, as well as Spanish influence that reached up from Mexico into the southwest. Turner tried to prove that American “institutions adapt to changes of expanding people”, or in the case of the frontier, the settlers. How much do Puritan New England and the California of the transcontinental railroad really have in common?

American intellect owes its form to the frontier as well. Williams viewed the frontier concept as a tool to promote democracy through both world wars, to endorse spending on foreign aid, and motivate action against totalitarianism. The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life.

how accurate was frederick jackson turners thesis about the american frontier

He also held a mirror up to America, allowing a nation to see itself clearly for the first time.