The Significance of the Frontier in American History
"The Significance of the Frontier in American History" is a seminal essay by the American
historian Frederick Jackson Turnerwhich advanced the Frontier Thesisof American history. It was presented to a special meeting of the American Historical Associationat the World's Columbian Expositionon July 12 1893, in Chicago, Illinois, and published later that year first in "Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin", then in the "Annual Report of the American Historical Association". It has been subsequently reprinted and anthologized many times, and was incorporated into Turner's 1921 book, "The Frontier in American History", as Chapter I.
The thesis describes his views on how the idea of the
frontiershaped the American being and their characteristics. He talks about how the frontier drove American history and that is why America is how it is today. Turner reflects on the past to prove his point by noting human fascination with the frontier and how expansion to the American West changed peoples' views on their culture. It is a thesis that has been respected in the historical circle for many years.
Opposition to the Turner Thesis
In 1942, in "The Frontier and American Institutions: A Criticism of the Turner Thesis," Professor
George Wilson Piersondebated the validity of the Turner thesis, stating that many factors influenced American culture besides the looming frontier. Although he respected Turner, Pierson strongly argues his point by looking beyond the frontier and acknowledging other factors in American development.
The Turner Thesis was also critiqued by
Patricia Nelson Limerickin her 1987 book, "The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West". Limerick asserts the notion of a "New Western History" in which the American West is treated as a place and not a process of finite expansion. Limerick pushes for a continuation of study within the historical and social atmosphere of the American West, which she believes did not end in 1890, but rather continues on to this day.
Richard C. Wadechallenged the Frontier Thesis in his first book, "The Urban Frontier" (1959), asserting that western cities such as Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Cincinnati, not the farmer pioneers, were the catalysts for western expansion.
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/22994 The Frontier in American History] " at
* [http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/TURNER/home.html E-book version of "The Frontier in American History"]
* [http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/west/nugent.html "Western History, New and Not So New" by Walter Nugent]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Frontier Thesis — The Frontier Thesis or Turner Thesis is the conclusion of Frederick Jackson Turner that the wellsprings of American exceptionalism and vitality have always been the American frontier, the region between urbanized, civilized society and the… … Wikipedia
American exceptionalism — refers to the theory that the United States is qualitatively different from other countries. In this view, America s exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming the first new nation,  and developing a uniquely American… … Wikipedia
History of the United States (1865–1918) — The history of the United States (1865–1918) covers Reconstruction and the rise of industrialization in the United States.At the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States remained bitterly divided. Reconstruction and its failure left the… … Wikipedia
Frontier — This article is about the political and geographic term. For other uses, see Frontier (disambiguation). A restored pioneer house at the National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas. A frontier is a political and geographical term referring … Wikipedia
Frontier Society — Der Ausdruck Frontier Society (dt. Grenzland Gesellschaft) bezeichnet eine Gesellschaft, die an der Grenze ihres Kulturkreises lebt, sich dieser Grenze bewusst ist und sie verteidigt. Kennzeichnend für eine Frontier Society ist eine kulturelle… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Frontier society — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… … Deutsch Wikipedia
History of Canada — This article is part of a series Timeline … Wikipedia
History of Mexican-Americans — The history of Mexican American people is wide ranging, spanning more than four hundred years and varying from region to region within the United States. Mexican Americans were once concentrated in the states that formerly belonged to Mexico,… … Wikipedia
American Revolution — The American Revolution refers to the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which the Thirteen Colonies of North America overthrew the governance of the British Empire and collectively became the nation of the United… … Wikipedia
History of Missouri — The history of Missouri begins with France claiming the territory and selling it to the U.S. in 1803. Statehood came following a compromise in 1820. Missouri grew rapidly until the Civil War, which saw numerous small battles and control by the… … Wikipedia