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Response To Turner's Essay On The Significance Of The Frontier In American History

666 words - 3 pages

Response to Turner's Essay on The Significance of the Frontier in American History

Turner's "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" essay
presents the primary model for comprehending American history. Turner
developed his notions on the uncovering of the 1890 census that the
frontier was coming to an end, that the nation had occupied its
continental borders. As Turner discusses in his essay, an extensive
era of American development approached an ending, but left enduring
marks on American society. A major notion within his claims of the
American frontier is, "the existence of an area of free land, its
continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward,
[that] explain American development." (Turner, 33)

Furthermore, Turner's claim that the frontier experience explains the
development of democracy in the United States generates a popular
sense of American patriotism and supports a highly cultural appraisal
of the frontier. "The most important effect of the frontier has been
in the promotion of democracy here and in Europe. As has been
indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism." (Turner, 34)
Over the last century, however, Turner's thesis received ongoing
criticism as well as support for his claims, which has allowed itself
in being one of the most controversial topics within American history.
Critics denounce Turner's thesis as being much too ignorant on
"economic concerns of past industrial America." Turner was also
criticized for removing the natives from his narrative and further
ignores alternative motives. Furthermore, the notion of the frontier
is also criticized as being environmentally deterministic as people
did not being fresh based on ambitions, but were merely victims of
their current surroundings.

Supporters of Turner's thesis, defend Turner's ideas of the...

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