Frederick Jackson Turner The Significance Of The Frontier In American History Summary

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Frederick Jackson Turner

This paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze Frederick Jackson Turner. He was an American historian from Portage, Wisconsin that grew up in a middle class family. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1884, and acquired his Ph.D. in history at John Hopkins University in 1884. My goal is to examine Turner's essay "The Significance of the Frontier in American History ." Turner's essay is a masterpiece of historical thought and sentiment, enhanced by analysis and critical thinking from a variety of different sources.
Frederick Jackson Turner's essay discusses the closing of the American western frontier, and what it means for the American people. The historical significance of the frontier movement …show more content…

In addition, he notes that initially, European colonists to America kept their own individuality and society, but striking out into the frontier changed European colonists into true Americans, who gave up their Pilgrim finery for coonskin caps and canoes. As a result, the colonists find themselves slowly adapting to their new environment, rather than adapting their environment to their old European lifestyles, which have no place is this new and wild land. He also discusses the demarcation between "savagery and civilization" that made the frontier so unsettling and yet alluring, and the key importance of westward expansion to our nation, even outweighing the importance of slavery in his …show more content…

Turner notes, "Before long the frontier created a demand for merchants. As it retreated from the coast it became less and less possible for England to bring her supplies directly to the consumer's wharfs, and carry away staple crops, and staple crops began to give way to diversified agriculture for a time." 4 Turner's evidence supports his points by then going into detail regarding his assertions, and citing evidence of other historians and statesmen as part of his arguments. For example, when he discusses America's lessening dependence on England, he cites the Governor of South Carolina and his assessment of the South's initial dependence on England for food and drink, and the growing dependence on American markets to supply their daily needs. Thus, Turner continually backs up his own thesis with the interpretations of other historians, experts, and citizens, thereby reinforcing his arguments and his ideas.
Turner's is quite convincing. His assessment of the American westward expansion as a vital part of our history is undeniable. He asserts, "The growth of nationalism and the evolution of American political institutions were dependent on the advance of the frontier," 5 and

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