This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Frontier Thesis Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

The Turner Thesis in the Modern United States

Despite being written over one hundred years ago, Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis is still valid to this very day. The main point of Turner’s Frontier Thesis is that people migrate to places of cheap land and economic opportunity. Traditionally, the cheap land was located along the Frontier where there was an abundance of resources. As the people moved westward in search of cheap resources, more settlements developed in the West. While the Frontier is no longer present in today’s America, one simply has to reinterpret Turner’s Thesis as economic opportunities and migration towards them. Because of this, Turner’s interpretation of ...view middle of the document...

Even Turner conceded this when the U.S. Census declared the closing of the American Frontier in 1890. This is the major point of contention in translating Turner’s Thesis to modern America. Without the Western Frontier, how can the Turner Thesis still be valid? The answer is quite simple. President John F. Kennedy stated that the new physical frontier lies in space – an unexplored realm with endless possibilities and resources. Because of these unclaimed resources, the Space Race propelled America into space with dreams of grandeur. Consequently, NASA is still exploring the universe as a means to locate inhabitable planets for future development; hence the competition between the United States and other countries with space exploration – mainly Russia.
Rather than interpreting Turner’s Thesis as a means of settling the West, historians need to see the development of the West as a process instead. The West is a process of economic boom, migration, economic bust – it is never ending. One of the primary arguments of Turner’s Frontier Thesis is that people flock to where economic opportunities are present and will continue to do so– this has not changed since Turner first developed his thesis. Historians need to accept that Turner’s thesis was developed due to the boom/bust cycles that were prevalent in the West. This cycle is seen even in today’s America where the Frontier is absent.
The true problem with the Turner Thesis lies in the fact that it relied so heavily upon a simplistic definition of “frontier.” The Frontier, according to Turner, was simply the land that was not settled by the American people. Because of this, Turner did not take into account that the West was inhabited by Native Americans, French explorers, and Spanish colonists. Turner simply followed a sociocentric line of thinking which helped him develop his Frontier Thesis. This sociocentric perspective applied only to the United States; Turner had no interest in cultures aside from his own. Because of this, Turner’s...

Find Another Essay On Frontier Thesis

Frederick Jackson Turner's observations about the birth of democracy

637 words - 3 pages , the frontier has influenced, as examined in Frederick Jackson Turner's thesis, the East and even the Old World through the development of its own "American" zeitgeist that spread beyond its region. According to Turner, the frontier's most important influence on the East and the Old World was the promotion of democracy through its people.Turner encompasses the evolution of the frontier in his thesis hence, "Moving westward, the frontier became more

The American Character Essay

1125 words - 5 pages Jackson Turner, within his Frontier Thesis. Frederick Jackson Turner was an historian who revolutionized historical thinking in the United States by calling attention to the significance of the frontier in the development of the American character. He delivered this essay at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Within his Frontier Thesis, he states, '"It appears then that the universal disposition of the Americans to emigrate to the western

Turner and the Glorification of Westward Expansion

1668 words - 7 pages modify Turner’s thesis into a more balanced argument. Turner’s thesis, however, remains important due to the fact that it is such a clear representation of American attitudes about the frontier and Westward expansion at the turn of the century.

The Myth of the Old West

2087 words - 8 pages , often deceptive, government programs is even present in the average citizen’s understanding of the frontier. This misunderstanding of the west is epitomized by the statement, “Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis was as real as the myth of the west. The development of the west was, in fact, A Century of Dishonor.” The frontier thesis, which Turner proposed in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition, viewed the frontier as the sole

American Exceptionalism: Why We Are Different from Other Nations

986 words - 4 pages the westward movement. Moving west, and tapping the resources given to us is what made us different. Turner’s thesis is, “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain[s] American development. The idea that success came from moving west. This idea wraps up how America became the nation to be. From the movie episodes of, “America the Story of Us” I saw how America

American Imperialism Then and Now: Diffusion of the American Culture

1745 words - 7 pages The imperialist spirit of the United States was inherited from England after the U.S. broke away from its mother country in 1775. The young country wanted to spread its ways of living across its landscape, creating defined boarders on both sides that separated it from its English predecessors. Thus America’s New Frontier was born. America built up its imperialistic nature throughout the 19th century and on into the 20th century, flexing its

Critique

577 words - 2 pages been made to explore the western frontier, however they have all failed. The journey of Lewis and Clark to the western frontier was the first successful voyage. Lewis and Clark brought back ample amounts of good information, and unfortunate information, for example, the fact that there was no direct water-route across the country. The author's thesis expands on extension and exploration in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Although several

The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier

1667 words - 7 pages The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, Eaton’s examination of the proliferation of Islam in Bengali from the thirteenth through the eighteenth century, presents compelling arguments in support of a model striking in contrast to those endorsed by Eaton’s predecessors. This paper will present a juxtaposition of the theories including a comprehensive examination of vital historical processes in cultural change. Eaton’s argument maintains

The Frontier of America

7428 words - 30 pages thesis on the frontier states:Up to our own day American history has been in a large degreethe history of the colonization of the Great West.The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession,and the advance of American settlement westward explainAmerican development.Expansion of the United States can be traced from the first of those who settled in Jamestown. It all began with a simple idea, a faster route to India. Yet instead of

The Western as Commentary about Decaying Values

4097 words - 16 pages : University of Oklahoma Press, 1973. Turner, Frederick J. “Contributions of the West to American Democracy.” The Turner Thesis: Concerning the Role of the Frontier in American History. Ed. George R. Taylor. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1972.

The Progressive Movement... everything about the progressive historians

6426 words - 26 pages American History," which was published in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression.This book is not exclusively about the American Revolution. Instead, it discusses several important factors in American history from a demographic perspective. Turner echoes his own frontier thesis in this work, citing instances in the West that shaped the character of the Revolution. The behavior of the earliest pioneers was important in understanding the later

Similar Essays

Historian Frederick Jackson Frontier Thesis Essay

707 words - 3 pages The Census Bureau in 1890 proclaimed the western frontier closed. Nevertheless, three years later Historian Frederick Jackson Turner from Wisconsin University gave his now famous "frontier thesis" at the American Historical Association. Frederick Turner ran with the "closing of the frontier" as an opportunity to show the influence it had on American life. Turner's essay emphasized that the promotion of individualistic democracy was a main effect

Turners Frontier Thesis Essay

1021 words - 5 pages . Because of this diverse background, the responses were also diverse. As Nugent found, there is no real answer because the West is as much a culture identity as it is a geographical location. Because of this, it is subjective. The answer that resonated with me, as both an Arizonan and writer, is from Bill Crider of the Western Writers of America. Crider states, “To tell the truth, the West for me is associated with the frontier that’s long gone. The

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

666 words - 3 pages 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

The Great Plains And The History Of The Froniter

1437 words - 6 pages accomplishment, explaining the general movement of the frontier, the psychological factors and the character of the people, and lastly why each frontier movement began anew. Turner ended his career by teaching at the University of Chicago until his retirement and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932. The purpose of this paper is to discuss both the Webb and Turner thesis, to also show support or criticism of their ideas.Walter Prescott Webb believed, "There is