Milner, II, and Charles Rankin eds. Kingsland, The Evolution of American Ecology, — p. Criticizing Turner for his focus on white male pioneers, the revisionists also aim at writing the history of all the actors of the western past: Criticism reached its height in the late s, taking the form of a “New Western History”, which discarded the word “frontier”, and promoted a study of the West as a region, not as a process. Frederick Jackson Turner and the frontier thesis 3 Considered as the founding father of Western history, Frederick Jackson Turner is famous for a lecture he gave in , entitled “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”. Their germs were, directly and by way of England, carried to the New World where they were allowed to germinate in the North American forests. A small herd of American bison was started at the lab’s founding to symbolize Fermilab’s presence on the frontier of physics and its connection to the American prairie.
Other historians, who wanted to focus scholarship on minorities, especially Native Americans and Hispanics, started in the s to criticize the frontier thesis because it did not attempt to explain the evolution of those groups. On a more analytic level, an increasing number of Western historians have found the very concept of a frontier dubious, because it applies to too many disparate places and times to be useful. Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the frontier, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which engendered such traits as self-reliance, individualism , inventiveness, restless energy, mobility, materialism, and optimism. While Turner, in spite of his sweeping assertions and fuzzy definitions, wrote a national history, the New Historians limit the scope of their analyses to the westernmost part of the United States. Turner’s emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories.
Roosevelt, Rendezvous with Destiny: Kennedy in the early s explicitly called upon the ideas of the frontier.
Turner never published a major book on the frontier for which he did 40 years of research. Individuals, forced to rely on their own wits and strength, he believed, were simply too scornful of rank to be amenable to the exercise of centralized political power.
Observing that three centuries of westward expansion bred national traits that distinguish Americans from Europeans, Turner claimed that “to the frontier americam American intellect chaeacter its striking characteristics” Turner 37such as individualism, energy, optimism and enthusiasm.
Please try again later. According to Turner, it was the frontier that shaped American institutions, society, and culture.
Aridity, for instance, does not characterize the Pacific Northwest as it does New Mexico or Arizona, just as ethnic diversity is probably not as central a feature of the Plains states or Oregon as it is of California or Texas.
Turner and Roosevelt diverged on the exact aspect of frontier life that shaped the contemporary American. Religious institutions from the eastern seaboard, in particular, battled for possession of the West. Frederick Jackson Turner “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development. 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.
Udall, Ida Hunt and David King. But even within Western and frontier history, a growing body of historians has contested Turner’s approach.
Place, Culture, and Regional IdentityLawrence: 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.
Every generation moved further west and became more American, more democratic, and more intolerant of hierarchy.
Frederick Jackson Turner
Successive generations moved further inland, shifting the lines of settlement and wilderness, but preserving the essential tension between the two. Full text PDF 91k Send by e-mail. Journal devoted to tuesis literature and civilsation of English-speaking countries Publisher: Instead Fermilab’s planners sought to return to Turnerian themes.
Whereas Turner saw the development of American character occur just behind the frontier line, as the colonists tamed and tilled the land, Roosevelt saw it form in battles just beyond the frontier line.
University Press of Kansas, Retrieved 20 April Significance of the frontier role in historiography In historiography: Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the frontier, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which engendered such traits as self-reliance, individualisminventiveness, restless yhesis, mobility, materialism, and optimism. There was no landed gentry who controlled most of the land and charged heavy rents and fees.
Disneyland ‘s Frontierland of the mid to late 20th century reflected the myth of rugged individualism that jqckson what was perceived to be the American heritage. While it is generally agreed that the region corresponds to the entire territory lying west of the 98 th meridian, the limits of the West have long been debated.
The mainstream of the profession has long since discarded Turner’s assumption that the frontier is the key to American history as a whole; they point instead to the critical influence of such factors as slavery and the Civil War, immigration, and the development of industrial capitalism. Yet, this insistence on what some critics call the “regionalizing of the West” is a distinguishing feature of the New Western History. He asked why the Turnerian American character was limited to English settlements in the New World, and why the frontier did not produce that same character among Native Americans and Spaniards.
Frederick Jackson Turner | American historian |
Turner concludes the essay by saying that with characfer end of the frontier, the first period of American history has ended. It remained the most convincing way to explain the American past and American identity for a very long time. Presses universitaires du Midi Medium: Inmedieval historian Carl Stephenson published an extended article refuting the Germanic germ theory.