“The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explains American development”. (PBS n.d.) By saying this Frederick Jackson Turner helped increase critical thinking about the west and helped historians understand the causes and affects it produced in the United States now and back then. The settling of the west was a great significance in the United States’ culture as well as characteristics.
The settlement of the west was a huge movement after the American Civil War. Greatly due to the fact that in 1862 the Homestead Act was passed allowing one hundred and sixty acres free to settlers. With innovations and expansions of the railroad system it began to clash with the Native Americans. After many skirmishes it all led up to the famous Battle of Little Big Horn. General Custard led the battle in which he was defeated and killed along with all of his troops. The American ...view middle of the document...
While cowboys played a big part in the west, farmers and ranchers contributed in large amounts. Farming and ranching took a lot of team like work because of how labor intensive and rigorous it was. This was often ignored because of myths and views of the west as the “lone cowboy”. Myths were important because they made the west much more appealing, but the truth behind the foundation of the west is just as crucial. What we now call the Great Plains or the “Bread Basket” of America was formed by the west. With the vast amounts of cultivation and trade progressing in the west many settlements managed to form into permanent towns with the help of steady trade that helped the residents economically. Trade was supported by the growth of the railroad that helped with the import and export of goods and animals. In “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” (shvoong n.d.) Frederick Turner makes a point in saying that the settlement of the west had created a different race in America. In that the way of life was different and caused many people to adapt to their surroundings and mentally perceive lifestyles different than their counterparts on the eastern seaboard.
The settlement of the west laid the foundations for the current day United States. With the diminishing amounts of Native Americans their way of life and culture was crushed by Americans. Currently the amounts of remaining people with Native American backgrounds have diminished significantly because of the past incidents. Settling in the west many times was filled with trial and error, not all towns being able to progress. Large cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada show the roots of what the once small town thrived from, this one specifically being from gambling and prostitution. Myths helped make the west seem more enticing by convincing the common man that he could finally become the man he has always wanted to be. The settlement of any land is always significant but the settlement of the west was different in a way that reinvented the way of life for Americans then and now. Without the west America wouldn’t have matured the way in needed to in order to succeed.