Consuming the American Frontier

Essay by hkvetgirlUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 2004

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"Consuming the American Frontier"

The original settlers of this country were optimistic speculators. They hoped that America held the promise of a better life and the freedom to live the way they chose. Relocating your entire family to "The "New World" was a gamble. The trip itself was fraught with danger but, the colonists need for more for themselves became the drive that set aside fear and reason for the hopeful achievement of their goal. These are the "American ancestors". These were a different kind of breed, who colonized this country, and Americans continue their legacy of the pioneering spirit through subsequent generations.

Today, there is no literal new frontier. The vast open space that was America is now a well-developed landscape. The frontiers of more recent generations have been forced to turn to something new to pioneer (Shames 60). The American ancestral heritage insists on it. It is an addictive need that must be pursued (Shames 61).

Americans as a society have turned to their ability to accumulate wealth and all that it provides for into the new frontier. Indeed, the "idea of an expansive frontier was the belief in the ever-abundant opportunities and riches available to whoever was brave and ambitious enough to pursue them" (Goewey 107).

In the essay "The More Factor", the author Lawrence Shames uses a tale about the American frontier to draw the conclusion that it shaped ideas and beliefs in order to become the ultimate consumer society that represents American culture. Shames uses this unique story not only to engage the reader's attention but also to introduce his concept of Americans as consumers in relation to the desire to expand themselves into new frontiers. In the opening paragraphs of the essay, Shames introduces the words "optimism" and "speculation" and defines the unique...