If Schlesinger studied the native history of this country, he could very easily write a new book entitled, The Disuniting of Native America. He could also write a lengthy account of the failures of assimilation as they applied to native Americans. The native American remains largely the invisible minority in The Disuniting of America since Schlesinger makes only seven passing references to them. Schlesigner wrote this article in response to the revisionists who want to rewrite the last years of American history.
He agrees and disagrees with the critics of the Quincentennial. Schlesinger maintains that Indians did receive negative treatment over the centuries. In doing so, he opposes the revisionist argument that Columbus did not discover American but only encountered it.
If Columbus did not discover this part of the world in , some other European explorer would have. Additionally, he views the European penetration of the Western Hemisphere as a positive force, and he writes:. The opening of the Americas ushered in a new era of human history. Well-known American historians, past and present, have not given native Americans their rightful place in American history. This has been the case over the last one hundred years, from to Footnotes 1.
For recent publications on the history of the American West, see the following: Nash ,G. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Trails: Toward a new western history. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. For a history of the Western Shoshone claims, see: Rusco, E. American Indian Quarterly, 15, Anderson, W. Cherokee removal: Before and after. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Calloway, C. New directions in American Indian history. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Indian Voices: The first convocation of American Indian scholars. Limerick, P. The Legacy of conquest: The unbroken past of the American West. New York: W. Nichols, D. South Dakota History , 2,, Phinney, A. The Indian Intelligentsia. The disuniting of America. Knoxville: Whittle Direct Books. Survey of conditions of the Indians in the United States.
Hearings before a subcommittee of the committee on Indian affairs, U. Senate, 72ndCong. Taylor, G. The Turner thesis: Concerning the role of the frontier in American history. Lexington: D. Heath and Company. Some of us live in the places where our ancestors are buried. Others carry our ancestors with us.
Additionally, he views the European penetration of the Western Hemisphere as a positive force, and he writes: The opening of the Americas ushered in a new era of human history. Steven Crum is on the faculty of the University of California at Davis. References Anderson, W. Standing Bear, L.
Land of the Spotted Eagle. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. The age of Jackson. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. July 8, The cult of ethnicity, good and bad. Turner's emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories. Turner begins the essay by calling to attention the fact that the western frontier line, which had defined the entirety of American history up to the s, had ended.
He elaborates by stating,. Behind institutions, behind constitutional forms and modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life and shape them to meet changing conditions. 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.
According to Turner, American progress has repeatedly undergone a cyclical process on the frontier line as society has needed to redevelop with its movement westward. Everything in American history up to the s somehow relates the western frontier, including slavery. In spite of this, Turner laments, the frontier has received little serious study from historians and economists.
Furthermore, there is a need to escape the confines of the State. The most important aspect of the frontier to Turner is its effect on democracy. The frontier transformed Jeffersonian democracy into Jacksonian democracy. Turner sets up the East and the West as opposing forces; as the West strives for freedom, the East seeks to control it. He cites British attempts to stifle western emigration during the colonial era and as an example of eastern control.
Even after independence, the eastern coast of the United States sought to control the West. Religious institutions from the eastern seaboard, in particular, battled for possession of the West. The tensions between small churches as a result of this fight, Turner states, exist today because of the religious attempt to master the West and those effects are worth further study.
American intellect owes its form to the frontier as well. Turner concludes the essay by saying that with the end of the frontier, the first period of American history has ended. The Frontier Thesis came about at a time when the Germanic germ theory of history was popular.
Proponents of the germ theory believed that political habits are determined by innate racial attributes. According to the theory, the Germanic race appeared and evolved in the ancient Teutonic forests, endowed with a great capacity for politics and government. 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.
According to Bancroft, the Germanic germs had spread across of all Western Europe by the Middle Ages and had reached their height. In , medieval historian Carl Stephenson published an extended article refuting the Germanic germ theory. Evidently, the belief that free political institutions of the United States spawned in ancient Germanic forests endured well into the s.
A similarly race-based interpretation of Western history also occupied the intellectual sphere in the United States before Turner. The racial warfare theory was an emerging belief in the late nineteenth century advocated by Theodore Roosevelt in The Winning of the West.
Turner and Roosevelt diverged on the exact aspect of frontier life that shaped the contemporary American. Each side, the Westerners and the native savages, struggled for mastery of the land through violence. 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. Turner set up an evolutionary model he had studied evolution with a leading geologist, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin , using the time dimension of American history, and the geographical space of the land that became the United States.
They adapted to the new physical, economic and political environment in certain ways—the cumulative effect of these adaptations was Americanization. Successive generations moved further inland, shifting the lines of settlement and wilderness, but preserving the essential tension between the two. European characteristics fell by the wayside and the old country's institutions e.
Every generation moved further west and became more American, more democratic, and more intolerant of hierarchy. They also became more violent, more individualistic, more distrustful of authority, less artistic, less scientific, and more dependent on ad-hoc organizations they formed themselves.
In broad terms, the further west, the more American the community. Turner saw the land frontier was ending, since the U. Census of had officially stated that the American frontier had broken up. He sounded an alarming note, speculating as to what this meant for the continued dynamism of American society as the source of U.
Historians, geographers, and social scientists have studied frontier-like conditions in other countries, with an eye on the Turnerian model. South Africa, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Australia—and even ancient Rome—had long frontiers that were also settled by pioneers. The question is whether their frontiers were powerful enough to overcome conservative central forces based in the metropolis.
In Australia, "mateship" and working together was valued more than individualism. Turner's thesis quickly became popular among intellectuals. It explained why the American people and American government were so different from their European counterparts.
It was popular among New Dealers—Franklin Roosevelt and his top aides  thought in terms of finding new frontiers. This is the great, the nation-wide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear. This is the frontier—the America—we have set ourselves to reclaim. Chandler Jr. Many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States must expand overseas. However, others viewed this interpretation as the impetus for a new wave in the history of United States imperialism.
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. 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.
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. Turner never published a major book on the frontier for which he did 40 years of research. Mode in , argued that churches adapted to the characteristics of the frontier, creating new denominations such as the Mormons , the Church of Christ , the Disciples of Christ , and the Cumberland Presbyterians.
The frontier, they argued, shaped uniquely American institutions such as revivals, camp meetings, and itinerant preaching. This view dominated religious historiography for decades. Micheaux promoted the West as a place where blacks could experience less institutionalized forms of racism and earn economic success through hard work and perseverance.
Slatta argues that the widespread popularization of Turner's frontier thesis influenced popular histories, motion pictures, and novels, which characterize the West in terms of individualism, frontier violence, and rough justice. Disneyland 's Frontierland of the mid to late 20th century reflected the myth of rugged individualism that celebrated what was perceived to be the American heritage. The public has ignored academic historians' anti-Turnerian models, largely because they conflict with and often destroy the icons of Western heritage.
However, the work of historians during the s—s, some of whom sought to bury Turner's conception of the frontier, and others who sought to spare the concept but with nuance, have done much to place Western myths in context. A study in Econometrica found empirical support for the frontier thesis, showing that frontier experience had a causal impact on individualism.
American democracy was born of no theorist's dream; it was not carried in the Susan Constant to Virginia, nor in the Mayflower to Plymouth. It came out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier.
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|Frontier thesis and indians||Therefore, through its popular creative essay editing websites for masters on the notion of "convergence", the latest scholarship seems to give a more complete picture of the Western past, paying as much attention to the edges and zones of contact as to the center of the region. Was America a mistake? It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin" Turner 4. In the thesis, the American frontier established liberty by releasing Americans from European mindsets and eroding old, dysfunctional customs. And the most effective way to achieve that is through investing in The Bill of Rights Institute.|
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|Guidelines on how to write a bibliography in apa style||In his vision, they cannot compete with European technology, and they fall by the wayside, serving as little more than a catalyst for the expansion of white Americans. Most celebrated of these conferences was the Albany congress ofcalled to treat with the Six Nations, and to consider plans of union. New York: Oxford University Press, Then, complete the comparison questions that follow. The native American remains largely the invisible minority in The Disuniting of America since Schlesinger makes only seven passing references to them.|
Turner's thesis quickly became popular among intellectuals. It explained why the American people and American government were so different from their European counterparts. It was popular among New Dealers—Franklin Roosevelt and his top aides  thought in terms of finding new frontiers. This is the great, the nation-wide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear. This is the frontier—the America—we have set ourselves to reclaim.
Chandler Jr. Many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States must expand overseas. However, others viewed this interpretation as the impetus for a new wave in the history of United States imperialism. 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.
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. 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. Turner never published a major book on the frontier for which he did 40 years of research.
Mode in , argued that churches adapted to the characteristics of the frontier, creating new denominations such as the Mormons , the Church of Christ , the Disciples of Christ , and the Cumberland Presbyterians. The frontier, they argued, shaped uniquely American institutions such as revivals, camp meetings, and itinerant preaching.
This view dominated religious historiography for decades. Micheaux promoted the West as a place where blacks could experience less institutionalized forms of racism and earn economic success through hard work and perseverance. Slatta argues that the widespread popularization of Turner's frontier thesis influenced popular histories, motion pictures, and novels, which characterize the West in terms of individualism, frontier violence, and rough justice.
Disneyland 's Frontierland of the mid to late 20th century reflected the myth of rugged individualism that celebrated what was perceived to be the American heritage. The public has ignored academic historians' anti-Turnerian models, largely because they conflict with and often destroy the icons of Western heritage. However, the work of historians during the s—s, some of whom sought to bury Turner's conception of the frontier, and others who sought to spare the concept but with nuance, have done much to place Western myths in context.
A study in Econometrica found empirical support for the frontier thesis, showing that frontier experience had a causal impact on individualism. American democracy was born of no theorist's dream; it was not carried in the Susan Constant to Virginia, nor in the Mayflower to Plymouth. It came out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier. Not the constitution but free land and an abundance of natural resources open to a fit people, made the democratic type of society in America for three centuries while it occupied its empire.
He asked why the Turnerian American character was limited to the Thirteen Colonies that went on to form the United States, why the frontier did not produce that same character among pre-Columbian Native Americans and Spaniards in the New World.
Indeed, his influence was felt in American classrooms until the s and 80s. Subsequent critics, historians, and politicians have suggested that other 'frontiers,' such as scientific innovation, could serve similar functions in American development. Historians have noted that John F. Kennedy in the early s explicitly called upon the ideas of the frontier. My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age—to the stout in spirit, regardless of party. Limerick points out that Kennedy assumed that "the campaigns of the Old Frontier had been successful, and morally justified.
The frontier thesis is one of the most influential documents on the American west today. Adrienne Kolb and Lillian Hoddeson argue that during the heyday of Kennedy's "New Frontier," the physicists who built Fermilab explicitly sought to recapture the excitement of the old frontier. They argue that, "Frontier imagery motivates Fermilab physicists, and a rhetoric remarkably similar to that of Turner helped them secure support for their research.
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. The bison herd still lives on the grounds of Fermilab. Instead Fermilab's planners sought to return to Turnerian themes.
They emphasized the values of individualism, empiricism, simplicity, equality, courage, discovery, independence, and naturalism in the service of democratic access, human rights, ecological balance, and the resolution of social, economic, and political issues. Milton Stanley Livingston, the lab's associate director, said in , "The frontier of high energy and the infinitesimally small is a challenge to the mind of man.
If we can reach and cross this frontier, our generations will have furnished a significant milestone in human history. John Perry Barlow , along with Mitch Kapor , promoted the idea of cyberspace the realm of telecommunication as an "electronic frontier" beyond the borders of any physically based government, in which freedom and self-determination could be fully realized.
Wikipedia is a major presence on the electronic frontier, and the Wikipedia editors have been explicitly compared to the pioneers of Turner's American frontier in terms of their youth, aggressiveness, boldness, equalitarianism and rejection of limitations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Frontier Thesis. Frederick Jackson Turner's argument that American democracy was built by the American frontier. Main article: New Frontier. Works by, Frederick Jackson Turner.
The Frontier in American History. Agricultural History. JSTOR Essays and Miscellany First ed. San Francisco. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 20 April American Historical Review. American Quarterly. Kingsland, The Evolution of American Ecology, — p.
Wyman and Clifton B. Kroeber, eds. Theatre Journal. Boles, "Turner, the frontier, and the study of religion in America," Journal of the Early Republic 13 2 pp. Slatta, "Taking Our Myths Seriously. ISSN New England Quarterly. The History Teacher. Kennedy to p. Grossman, The Frontier in American Culture p.
As the new Americans moved further westward and discovered opportunity, the need for transportation gave birth to the transcontinental railroad. Americans began to cultivate land, and master new trades, creating growing socio economic systems. The railroad industry proved to be a major component and a foundation of the new American industry. Railroads created need for steel production, coal and sparked a competitive mindset among companies. The railroad industry essentially was the first monopoly, in turn leading to granger laws, as well as several court cases arguing the role of government regulation in industry.
Eventually, the creation of the numerous railroads and corporations gave way to labor unrest However, three years later, one man--historian and frontier expert Frederick Jackson Turner--believed the frontier held the key to explaining American development on an economic, social, and historical level. He believed that the existence of free land to the west shaped the American character, made America more democratic, and was, frankly, the single most important experience in shaping American history.
His essay did more than any previous works before him, and it brought the subject of the importance of the frontier to the attention of not only intellectuals and historians, but also to What is the frontier thesis? What role does Turner argue the frontier has played in American history? The frontier thesis is the argument advanced by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in that expresses how the idea of the frontier , as the meeting point between savagery and civilization, influenced the American culture by promoting individualistic democracy.
He explains that expansion to the American West changed people's views on their own culture. What are the steps and stages along the way? Does he identify any threats to that process? Although, the country no longer warred with itself, a social unrest remained. The influx of immigrant migration, domination of unregulated capitalistic virtues, and suppressed American culture is that of the American frontier.
Its symbolic meaning created such moral, ethical, and emotional values in American that it paved the way for a country that would grow from an East Coast settlement, to a coast-to-coast nation of progress. One of the most famous stories in frontier mythology is that of Paul Bunyan. He was the American frontiersman who was mythically responsible for developing the west. He would take his giant axe and clear hundreds of acres a day to make way for civilization on the frontier.
By his side was his blue ox, which is said to be responsible for plowing the Grand Canyon and assisting with other western marvels. The Frontier is a prominent symbol of American culture. Although it intimidated the colonists and later Americans, it did not prevent us from spreading.
Besides, it offered the story of the birth of a nation to a people self-conscious of the shortness of its national history since, at the time Turner published his essay, parts of the United States had not achieved statehood yet. Finally, it depicted an American past that was as glorious and noble as that of any Old World power.
The appeal of the frontier to popular imagination made it even harder for historians to discredit it entirely. 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. Much of their revisionism consists in refuting his thesis, but the New Western History also suggests a new reading of the Western past.
One of the main features of the movement is its rejection of the word "frontier", which the historians consider as racist and ethnocentric. To Turner, indeed, the frontier was "the meeting point between savagery and civilization" Turner 3. Besides, Turner used the words "frontier" and "West" interchangeably, with the result that the historian put an end to the history of the West at the same time as he announced the closing of the frontier, in Therefore, discarding the word frontier and defining the West as a region make it possible to study its twentieth-century history, which had been completely overlooked by the "Old Western History", a label that appeared following the birth of the New Western History, to emphasize the novelty of the latter.
While Turner depicted the westward movement as a march of civilization and progress, the new historians denounce the expansionism and colonialism of the nation. As prominent New Western Historian and author of the landmark study The Legacy of Conquest Patricia Nelson Limerick states: "Conquest forms the historical bedrock of the whole nation, and the American West is a preeminent case study in conquest and its consequences" Limerick , 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: men, women, families, African-Americans, Chinese, Mexicans, Native Americans, etc.
The Western past is not a one-dimensional story of white men marching westward and replacing savagery by civilization, resulting in the ennoblement of the American character, but a multicultural tale highlighting ethnic and racial diversity, with people coming from the East, but also from the North, the South, and the West. Neither is it the story of the unique and exceptional subduing of an empty land, but a tale of environmental destruction and despoliation.
According to the New Western History, the West is not some moving line advancing westward, but a region, with geographical limits and intrinsic characteristics. Interestingly, members of the movement do not agree on the limits of the region: some include Alaska and Hawaii; others consider that the Pacific slope does not share the same characteristics as the rest of the region; while still others disagree over the northern and southern edges of the area.
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. Nevertheless, the New Historians all insist on considering the West as a fixed entity, and advocate a regionalist approach. And it has characteristics all of its own, that distinguish it from the other regions of the United States.
For instance, semi aridity, ethnic and racial diversity, and "a legacy of conquest", are considered as giving the western region its distinctiveness. In the s, historian Walter Prescott Webb discussed the aridity of the West, and made it the main characteristic of the region.
Yet, this insistence on what some critics call the "regionalizing of the West" is a distinguishing feature of the New Western History. According to Donald Worster, " regionalism is about telling differences or it has nothing to tell" Worster , Ironically, then, even though Turner has been the whipping-boy of the New Western Historians, Old and New Historians have more in common than the latter would admit.
So large is the area traditionally referred to as "the West" that the defining characteristics the New Historians are attached to are hardly applicable to all parts of the region. 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.
The New Historians try so hard to define and study the West as a region with distinctive characteristics that they fall into the trap of generalization. This homogenization masks subregional variations and basically suppresses one of the main characteristics of the broader region: its diversity, or lack of uniformity. Furthermore, the search for a clearly delineated region with tangible features has led the New Historians to ignore an important aspect of the West, that is, the fact that it may also have intangible characteristics, such as an undisputed place in the American imagination.
Seen as "a state of mind", the West is no less significant, yet much more difficult to locate on a map. That is why historians like David Wrobel and Michael Steiner have recently called for a study of the "many Wests within the larger West" Wrobel and Steiner 11 , one that would go beyond both the old frontier paradigm and the fixed and rigid entity of New Western History.
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. As a result, the new framework lacks the force and appeal of the old one.
According to a critic, "by abandoning the idea of the frontier and making the West as place the center of [their] focus, [the New Western Historians have] drained away some of the drama of life on the edges where people and places meet" Weber, in Worster, Armitage, Malone, Weber, and Limerick , italics in the text. The regionalism of the New Historians results in parochialism, and runs the risk of being regarded as irrelevant to American history at large.
For instance, Western historians have paid more attention to colonialism over the last decade. Redefining the "frontier" as " a meeting place of peoples in which geographic and cultural borders were not clearly defined", historians Jeremy Adelman and Stephen Aron associate the concept with that of "borderlands", in order to study "the variegated nature of European imperialism and of indigenous reactions to colonial encroachments" Adelman and Aron A ware of the provincialism of their history in an era of globalization, New Western Historians themselves have called for, in the words of Patricia Nelson Limerick, "comparative studies of processes of colonialism and imperialism, [to locate] the region in the big picture of world history" Limerick , 5.
Historians now analyse the way these groups met and interacted, and the complex situations that emerged as a result of their connections. Gregory Nobles, for instance, studies the frontier as "an area of interaction between two or more cultures in which neither culture is assumed to have an altogether superior position. From the colonial period, when empires and nations converged, met and clashed in the West, to the modern-day West, which remains, with its international boundaries, a crossroads of peoples, the region has always fed on these contacts, exchanges and interactions.
Therefore, through its emphasis on the notion of "convergence", the latest scholarship seems to give a more complete picture of the Western past, paying as much attention to the edges and zones of contact as to the center of the region. Besides, the openness suggested by the recent interpretations may be a way to bring the West back to relevance on the national stage.
Indeed, Turner was an American historian, who read the westward movement as the key explanation for American history. The New Historians, on the other hand, are Westerners, who focus on the Western region, cutting it off from the rest of the nation. Onuf eds. Norton and Company, Milner, II, and Charles Rankin eds. Nobles, Gregory H.
Reeve trans. Langley, White, Richard, The Middle Ground. Malone, David J. Worster, Donald, Under Western Skies. Wrobel, David M. Spotswood, of Virginia, made an expedition in across the Blue Ridge. The end of the first quarter of the century saw the advance of the Scotch-Irish and the Palatine Germans up the Shenandoah Valley into the western part of Virginia, and along the Piedmont region of the Carolinas.
In the period of the Revolution the frontier crossed the Alleghanies into Kentucky and Tennessee, and the upper waters of the Ohio were settled. The isolation of the region increased its peculiarly American tendencies, and the need of transportation facilities to connect it with the East called out important schemes of internal improvement, which will be noted farther on.
From decade to decade distinct advances of the frontier occurred. By the census of ,  the settled area included Ohio, southern Indiana and Illinois, southeastern Missouri, and about one-half of Louisiana.
This settled area had surrounded Indian areas, and the management of these tribes became an object of political concern. The Mississippi River region was the scene of typical frontier settlements. The rising steam navigation  on western waters, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the westward extension of cotton  culture added five frontier states to the Union in this period. Hardly is a new State or Territory formed before the same principle manifests itself again and gives rise to a further emigration; and so is it destined to go on until a physical barrier must finally obstruct its progress.
In the middle of this century the line indicated by the present eastern boundary of Indian Territory, Nebraska, and Kansas marked the frontier of the Indian country. Railroads, fostered by land grants, sent an increasing tide of immigrants into the far West.
By the settled area had been pushed into northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, along Dakota rivers, and in the Black Hills region, and was ascending the rivers of Kansas and Nebraska. The development of mines in Colorado had drawn isolated frontier settlements into that region, and Montana and Idaho were receiving settlers. The frontier was found in these mining camps and the ranches of the Great Plains.
The superintendent of the census for reports, as previously stated, that the settlements of the West lie so scattered over the region that there can no longer be said to be a frontier line. The fall line marked the frontier of the seventeenth century; the Alleghanies that of the eighteenth; the Mississippi that of the first quarter of the nineteenth; the Missouri that of the middle of this century omitting the California movement ; and the belt of the Rocky Mountains and the arid tract, the present frontier.
Each was won by a series of Indian wars. At the Atlantic frontier one can study the germs of processes repeated at each successive frontier. We have the complex European life sharply precipitated by the wilderness into the simplicity of primitive conditions. The first frontier had to meet its Indian question, its question of the disposition of the public domain, of the means of intercourse with older settlements, of the extension of political organization, of religious and educational activity.
And the settlement of these and similar questions for one frontier served as a guide for the next. For example, he may study the origin of our land policies in the colonial land policy; he may see how the system grew by adapting the statutes to the customs of the successive frontiers. Each tier of new States has found in the older ones material for its constitutions. But with all these similarities there are essential differences, due to the place element and the time element.
It is evident that the farming frontier of the Mississippi Valley presents different conditions from the mining frontier of the Rocky Mountains. The frontier reached by the Pacific Railroad, surveyed into rectangles, guarded by the United States Army, and recruited by the daily immigrant ship, moves forward at a swifter pace and in a different way than the frontier reached by the birch canoe or the pack horse.
The geologist traces patiently the shores of ancient seas, maps their areas, and compares the older and the newer. Not only would there result a more adequate conception of American development and characteristics, but invaluable additions would be made to the history of society. Loria,  the Italian economist, has urged the study of colonial life as an aid in understanding the stages of European development, affirming that colonial settlement is for economic science what the mountain is for geology, bringing to light primitive stratifications.
The United States lies like a huge page in the history of society. Line by line as we read this continental page from west to east we find the record of social evolution. It begins with the Indian and the hunter; it goes on to tell of the disintegration of savagery by the entrance of the trader, the pathfinder of civilization; we read the annals of the pastoral stage in ranch life; the exploitation of the soil by the raising of unrotated crops of corn and wheat in sparsely settled farming communities; the intensive culture of the denser farm settlement; and finally the manufacturing organization with city and factory system.
Particularly in eastern States this page is a palimpsest. What is now a manufacturing State was in an earlier decade an area of intensive farming. Thus Wisconsin, now developing manufacture, is a State with varied agricultural interests.
But earlier it was given over to almost exclusive grain-raising, like North Dakota at the present time. Each of these areas has had an influence in our economic and political history; the evolution of each into a higher stage has worked political transformations. But what constitutional historian has made any adequate attempt to interpret political facts by the light of these social areas and changes? The Atlantic frontier was compounded of fisherman, far trader, miner, cattle-raiser, and farmer.
Excepting the fisherman, each type of industry was on the march toward the West, impelled by an irresistible attraction. Each passed in successive waves across the continent. Stand at Cumberland Gap and watch the procession of civilization, marching single file—the buffalo following the trail to the salt springs, the Indian, the fur-trader and hunter, the cattle-raiser, the pioneer farmer—and the frontier has passed by.
Stand at South Pass in the Rockies a century later and see the same procession with wider intervals between. When the trappers scaled the Rockies, the farmer was still near the mouth of the Missouri. Why was it that the Indian trader passed so rapidly across the continent?
The Plymouth pilgrims settled in Indian cornfields, and their first return cargo was of beaver and lumber. The records of the various New England colonies show how steadily exploration was carried into the wilderness by this trade. What is true for New England is, as would be expected, even plainer for the rest of the colonies.
All along the coast from Maine to Georgia the Indian trade opened up the river courses. Steadily the trader passed westward, utilizing the older lines of French trade. The Ohio, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Platte, the lines of western advance, were ascended by traders. The explanation of the rapidity of this advance is connected with the effects of the trader on the Indian.
The trading post left the unarmed tribes at the mercy of those that had purchased fire-arms—a truth which the Iroquois Indians wrote in blood, and so the remote and unvisited tribes gave eager welcome to the trader. Thus the disintegrating forces of civilization entered the wilderness. Every river valley and Indian trail became a fissure in Indian society, and so that society became honeycombed.
Long before the pioneer farmer appeared on the scene, primitive Indian life had passed away. The farmers met Indians armed with guns. The trading frontier, while steadily undermining Indian power by making the tribes ultimately dependent on the whites, yet, through its sale of guns, gave to the Indians increased power of resistance to the farming frontier.
French colonization was dominated by its trading frontier; English colonization by its farming frontier. There was an antagonism between the two frontiers as between the two nations. Go see the forts that our king has established and you will see that you can still hunt under their very walls.
They have been placed for your advantage in places which you frequent. The English, on the contrary, are no sooner in possession of a place than the game is driven away. The forest falls before them as they advance, and the soil is laid bare so that you can scarce find the wherewithal to erect a shelter for the night. And yet, in spite of this opposition of the interests of the trader and the farmer, the Indian trade pioneered the way for civilization.
The same origin can be shown for the railroads of the South, the far West, and the Dominion of Canada. Louis, Council Bluffs, and Kansas City. Thus civilization in America has followed the arteries made by geology, pouring an ever richer tide through them, until at last the slender paths of aboriginal intercourse have been broadened and interwoven into the complex mazes of modern commercial lines; the wilderness has been interpenetrated by lines of civilization growing ever more numerous.
It is like the steady growth of a complex nervous system for the originally simple, inert continent. If one would understand why we are to-day one nation, rather than a collection of isolated states, he must study this economic and social consolidation of the country. In this progress from savage conditions lie topics for the evolutionist. The effect of the Indian frontier as a consolidating agent in our history is important. From the close of the seventeenth century various intercolonial congresses have been called to treat with Indians and establish common measures of defense.
Particularism was strongest in colonies with no Indian frontier. This frontier stretched along the western border like a cord of union. The Indian was a common danger, demanding united action. Most celebrated of these conferences was the Albany congress of , called to treat with the Six Nations, and to consider plans of union. Even a cursory reading of the plan proposed by the congress reveals the importance of the frontier. The powers of the general council and the officers were, chiefly, the determination of peace and war with the Indians, the regulation of Indian trade, the purchase of Indian lands, and the creation and government of new settlements as a security against the Indians.
It is evident that the unifying tendencies of the Revolutionary period were facilitated by the previous cooperation in the regulation of the frontier. In this connection may be mentioned the importance of the frontier, from that day to this, as a military training school, keeping alive the power of resistance to aggression, and developing the stalwart and rugged qualities of the frontiersman. It would not be possible in the limits of this paper to trace the other frontiers across the continent.
The experience of the Carolina cowpens guided the ranchers of Texas. The effect of these great ranches on the subsequent agrarian history of the localities in which they existed should be studied. In part this is due to Indian resistance, in part to the location of river valleys and passes, in part to the unequal force of the centers of frontier attraction. Among the important centers of attraction may be mentioned the following: fertile and favorably situated soils, salt springs, mines, and army posts.
The frontier army post, serving to protect the settlers from the Indians, has also acted as a wedge to open the Indian country, and has been a nucleus for settlement. But all the more important expeditions were greatly indebted to the earliest pathmakers, the Indian guides, the traders and trappers, and the French voyageurs, who were inevitable parts of governmental expeditions from the days of Lewis and Clarke. In an interesting monograph, Victor Hehn  has traced the effect of salt upon early European development, and has pointed out how it affected the lines of settlement and the form of administration.
A similar study might be made for the salt springs of the United States. The early settlers were tied to the coast by the need of salt, without which they could not preserve their meats or live in comfort. An annual pilgrimage to the coast for salt thus became essential. Taking flocks or furs and ginseng root, the early settlers sent their pack trains after seeding time each year to the coast. But when discovery was made of the salt springs of the Kanawha, and the Holston, and Kentucky, and central New York, the West began to be freed from dependence on the coast.
It was in part the effect of finding these salt springs that enabled settlement to cross the mountains. From the time the mountains rose between the pioneer and the seaboard, a new order of Americanism arose. The West and the East began to get out of touch of each other. The settlements from the sea to the mountains kept connection with the rear and had a certain solidarity.
But the overmountain men grew more and more independent. The East took a narrow view of American advance, and nearly lost these men. Kentucky and Tennessee history bears abundant witness to the truth of this statement. The East began to try to hedge and limit westward expansion. Though Webster could declare that there were no Alleghanies in his politics, yet in politics in general they were a very solid factor.
The exploitation of the beasts took hunter and trader to the west, the exploitation of the grasses took the rancher west, and the exploitation of the virgin soil of the river valleys and prairies attracted the farmer. The land hunger of the Virginians drew them down the rivers into Carolina, in early colonial days; the search for soils took the Massachusetts men to Pennsylvania and to New York.
As the eastern lands were taken up migration flowed across them to the west. Daniel Boone, the great backwoodsman, who combined the occupations of hunter, trader, cattle-raiser, farmer, and surveyor—learning, probably from the traders, of the fertility of the lands on the upper Yadkin, where the traders were wont to rest as they took their way to the Indians, left his Pennsylvania home with his father, and passed down the Great Valley road to that stream.
Learning from a trader whose posts were on the Red River in Kentucky of its game and rich pastures, he pioneered the way for the farmers to that region. Thence he passed to the frontier of Missouri, where his settlement was long a landmark on the frontier. Here again he helped to open the way for civilization, finding salt licks, and trails, and land.
His son was among the earliest trappers in the passes of the Rocky Mountains, and his party are said to have been the first to camp on the present site of Denver. His grandson, Col. Boone, of Colorado, was a power among the Indians of the Rocky Mountains, and was appointed an agent by the Government. Generally, in all the western settlements, three classes, like the waves of the ocean, have rolled one after the other. It is quite immaterial whether he ever becomes the owner of the soil. He builds his cabin, gathers around him a few other families of similar tastes and habits, and occupies till the range is somewhat subdued, and hunting a little precarious, or, which is more frequently the case, till the neighbors crowd around, roads, bridges, and fields annoy him, and he lacks elbow room.
The next class of emigrants purchase the lands, add field to field, clear out the roads, throw rough bridges over the streams, put up hewn log houses with glass windows and brick or stone chimneys, occasionally plant orchards, build mills, schoolhouses, court-houses, etc. Another wave rolls on. The men of capital and enterprise come. The settler is ready to sell out and take the advantage of the rise in property, push farther into the interior and become, himself, a man of capital and enterprise in turn.
The small village rises to a spacious town or city; substantial edifices of brick, extensive fields, orchards, gardens, colleges, and churches are seen. Broadcloths, silks, leghorns, crapes, and all the refinements, luxuries, elegancies, frivolities, and fashions are in vogue. Thus wave after wave is rolling westward; the real Eldorado is still farther on.
A portion of the two first classes remain stationary amidst the general movement, improve their habits and condition, and rise in the scale of society. The writer has traveled much amongst the first class, the real pioneers. He has lived many years in connection with the second grade; and now the third wave is sweeping over large districts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
Migration has become almost a habit in the west. Hundreds of men can be found, not over 50 years of age, who have settled for the fourth, fifth, or sixth time on a new spot. To sell out and remove only a few hundred miles makes up a portion of the variety of backwoods life and manners. Omitting those of the pioneer farmers who move from the love of adventure, the advance of the more steady farmer is easy to understand.
Obviously the immigrant was attracted by the cheap lands of the frontier, and even the native farmer felt their influence strongly. Year by year the farmers who lived on soil whose returns were diminished by unrotated crops were offered the virgin soil of the frontier at nominal prices. Their growing families demanded more lands, and these were dear. The competition of the unexhausted, cheap, and easily tilled prairie lands compelled the farmer either to go west and continue the exhaustion of the soil on a new frontier, or to adopt intensive culture.
Thus the census of shows, in the Northwest, many counties in which there is an absolute or a relative decrease of population. These States have been sending farmers to advance the frontier on the plains, and have themselves begun to turn to intensive farming and to manufacture. A decade before this, Ohio had shown the same transition stage. Thus the demand for land and the love of wilderness freedom drew the frontier ever onward. Having now roughly outlined the various kinds of frontiers, and their modes of advance, chiefly from the point of view of the frontier itself, we may next inquire what were the influences on the East and on the Old World.
A rapid enumeration of some of the more noteworthy effects is all that I have time for. First, we note that the frontier promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people. The coast was preponderantly English, but the later tides of continental immigration flowed across to the free lands. This was the case from the early colonial days.
With these peoples were also the freed indented servants, or redemptioners, who at the expiration of their time of service passed to the frontier. In the crucible of the frontier the immigrants were Americanized, liberated, and fused into a mixed race, English in neither nationality or characteristics. The process has gone on from the early days to our own.
In the middle of the present century the German element in Wisconsin was already so considerable that leading publicists looked to the creation of a German state out of the commonwealth by concentrating their colonization. In another way the advance of the frontier decreased our dependence on England.
The coast, particularly of the South, lacked diversified industries, and was dependent on England for the bulk of its supplies. In the South there was even a dependence on the Northern colonies for articles of food. This no doubt diminishes the number of shipping and the appearance of our trade, but it is far from being a detriment to us.
The legislation which most developed the powers of the National Government, and played the largest part in its activity, was conditioned on the frontier. Writers have discussed the subjects of tariff, land, and internal improvement, as subsidiary to the slavery question.
But when American history comes to be rightly viewed it will be seen that the slavery question is an incident. In the period from the end of the first half of the present century to the close of the civil war slavery rose to primary, but far from exclusive, importance. But this does not justify Dr.
Even so recent a writer as Rhodes, in his History of the United States since the compromise of , has treated the legislation called out by the western advance as incidental to the slavery struggle. This is a wrong perspective. The pioneer needed the goods of the coast, and so the grand series of internal improvement and railroad legislation began, with potent nationalizing effects. Over internal improvements occurred great debates, in which grave constitutional questions were discussed.
Sectional groupings appear in the votes, profoundly significant for the historian. Loose construction increased as the nation marched westward. The disposition of the public lands was a third important subject of national legislation influenced by the frontier. The public domain has been a force of profound importance in the nationalization and development of the Government.
The effects of the struggle of the landed and the landless States, and of the ordinance of , need no discussion. The purchase of Louisiana was perhaps the constitutional turning point in the history of the Republic, inasmuch as it afforded both a new area for national legislation and the occasion of the downfall of the policy of strict construction. But the purchase of Louisiana was called out by frontier needs and demands. As frontier States accrued to the Union the national power grew.
In a speech on the dedication of the Calhoun monument Mr. When we consider the public domain from the point of view of the sale and disposal of the public lands we are again brought face to face with the frontier. The policy of the United States in dealing with its lands is in sharp contrast with the European system of scientific administration.
Efforts to make this domain a source of revenue, and to withhold it from emigrants in order that settlement might be compact, were in vain. The jealousy and the fears of the East were powerless in the face of the demands of the frontiersmen. Benton was the author of this system, which he brought forward as a substitute for the American system of Mr.
Clay, and to supplant him as the leading statesman of the West. Clay, by his tariff compromise with Mr. Calhoun, abandoned his own American system. At the same time he brought forward a plan for distributing among all the States of the Union the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. His bill for that purpose passed both Houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Jackson, who, in his annual message of December, , formally recommended that all public lands should be gratuitously given away to individual adventurers and to the States in which the lands are situated.
But this legislation was framed under frontier influences, and under the lead of Western statesmen like Benton and Jackson. It is safe to say that the legislation with regard to land, tariff, and internal improvements—the American system of the nationalizing Whig party—was conditioned on frontier ideas and needs.
But it was not merely in legislative action that the frontier worked against the sectionalism of the coast. The economic and social characteristics of the frontier worked against sectionalism. The men of the frontier had closer resemblances to the Middle region than to either of the other sections.
Pennsylvania had been the seed-plot of frontier emigration, and, although she passed on her settlers along the Great Valley into the west of Virginia and the Carolinas, yet the industrial society of these Southern frontiersmen was always more like that of the Middle region than like that of the tide-water portion of the South, which later came to spread its industrial type throughout the South.
The Middle region, entered by New York harbor, was an open door to all Europe. The tide-water part of the South represented typical Englishmen, modified by a warm climate and servile labor, and living in baronial fashion on great plantations; New England stood for a special English movement—Puritanism.
The Middle region was less English than the other sections. It had a wide mixture of nationalities, a varied society, the mixed town and county system of local government, a varied economic life, many religious sects. It represented that composite nationality which the contemporary United States exhibits, that juxtaposition of non-English groups, occupying a valley or a little settlement, and presenting reflections of the map of Europe in their variety.
It was typical of the modern United States. It was least sectional, not only because it lay between North and South, but also because with no barriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled region, and with a system of connecting waterways, the Middle region mediated between East and West as well as between North and South.
Thus it became the typically American region. Even the New Englander, who was shut out from the frontier by the Middle region, tarrying in New York or Pennsylvania on his westward march, lost the acuteness of his sectionalism on the way. Before this process revealed its results the western portion of the South, which was akin to Pennsylvania in stock, society, and industry, showed tendencies to fall away from the faith of the fathers into internal improvement legislation and nationalism.
In the Virginia convention of —30, called to revise the constitution, Mr. Leigh, of Chesterfield, one of the tide-water counties, declared:. One of the main causes of discontent which led to this convention, that which had the strongest influence in overcoming our veneration for the work of our fathers, which taught us to contemn the sentiments of Henry and Mason and Pendleton, which weaned us from our reverence for the constituted authorities of the State, was an overweening passion for internal improvement.
I say this with perfect knowledge, for it has been avowed to me by gentlemen from the West over and over again.
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