In The Significance of the Frontier in American History Frederick Jackson Turner says that there are certain traits of the west that influenced in the past and still do.

Essay by falkorlove February 2004

download word file, 5 pages 4.5

Downloaded 105 times

According to Frederick Jackson Turner in his paper, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, the conditions of frontier life produced many intellectual traits. He described these character traits as, "...acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients...that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom." It is due to these traits that the settlers of the frontier moved west when given the opportunity. Those who did not go west were also affected by these traits since what was suitable for the Westerner could be harmful for the Easterner.

Turner ends his paper by emphasizing the importance of the intellectual traits that formed due to the frontier. Yet, what was it about the frontier that allowed the settlers to form such characteristics. America, despite being viewed as the land of opportunity by foreigners was at times viewed as the land of the lacking by its' own Americans.

Thus, Easterners and foreigners who were gaining insufficient wages in the city were forced to find other ways of survival and many turned to the West. This action was due in part to the theory of the "safety valve" which acknowledged that the city would not always be able to provide its' workers with the wages they needed to live decently thus, the west would be the fallback for whomever could not make it in the city. Yet, economic motives were not the only reasons for traveling to the frontier. It was also those who loved the freedom allotted to them in such a great space who migrated West.

However, those who arrived faced many problems such as, the "savages" who kept them from settling further down, typical farming supplies that were useless against the hard...