Historian Frederick Jackson Frontier Thesis

Essay by loopvinnyHigh School, 11th grade March 2002

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The Census Bureau in 1890 proclaimed the western frontier closed. Nevertheless, three years later Historian Frederick Jackson Turner from Wisconsin University gave his now famous "frontier thesis" at the American Historical Association. Frederick Turner ran with the "closing of the frontier" as an opportunity to show the influence it had on American life. Turner's essay emphasized that the promotion of individualistic democracy was a main effect of the frontier. Up to our own day, American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement of westward explain American development. Many historians have strongly agreed or disagreed with these two powerful statements made by Frederick Turner in his "frontier thesis". He proclaimed that the frontier Americanized Americans. Cheap and free land in this democratic society strengthened the country and provided safety, which protected the nation from various uprisings.

Most people advocated that America was just a run down form of European society, which it merely was. Frederick Turner saw the frontier make America more of its own individual. This frontier made something new, something different from European values, Turner thought. Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" proclaimed the long lasting political democracy in America.

The frontier made the political democracy what it was. Without the frontier, America would loose its nationalism, individualism, and its own government. The frontier was what kept America alive, this was emphasized throughout the "frontier thesis". "Contributions of the West to American democracy," he said the paths of the pioneers have widened into broad highways. The frontier thesis is both information about the past, and a warning about the future. He proclaims that the frontier was essential in the development of America. Without...