The Significance Of The Western Frontier

2156 Words9 Pages
Most people in the United States would say that the ability to adapt is simply a part of the American way of life. Americans have always relied on this trait since the early days of British colonization to present times. It can be demonstrated in all facets of life. Adaptability was the reason the old frontier was populated; people adjusted to the unfamiliar climates, conditions, and landscapes. New immigrants were able to adapt to the culture and thrive in the United States, and they continue to. Americans adapted to the threat of the enemy during World War II and had to accustom themselves to a life full of restrictions in their day to day activities. In the military, soldiers adapt to a new way of thinking in order to allow themselves to…show more content…
Frontier literature takes the modern day reader along the journey of early land exploration and outlines the challenges faced. The literature also demonstrated how a different way of thinking had to be applied. Frederick Jackson Turner, a 20th century American historian, describes the old west frontier as “the meeting point between savagery and civilization” (10) in his essay “The Significance of the Western Frontier in American History.” The West Coast was vastly different from the earlier settled colonies on the East Coast. Climates, food sources, water, and previous inhabitants were unknown. Voyaging westward meant traveling into strange, unsettled lands in which there were no assurances of success. As a result, the frontier held a fascination for many. Generations romanticized it as a time filled with adventure. Hillenbrand writes that when Louie Zamperini was a kid he loved the frontier and wished to be a part of it. For this reason, he longed to be “a man and his horse on the frontier, broken off from the world” (12). Early twentieth century frontier literature has written that the first Western settlers had to adapt psychologically and physically. The early settlers’ ability to adapt led to people flourishing on the West…show more content…
Hillenbrand describes America’s descent into war, “In an effort to stop Japan, President Franklin Roosevelt imposed ever-increasing embargoes on materiel [sic], such as scrap metal and aviation fuel” (44). There were certain procedures that had to be followed to keep America safe. The people of America rationed their resources in order to help with the war effort. Nylons were given up by women, as the material was needed to make parachutes. Food and gas, needed to be used sparingly in order to conserve resources and support the war effort abroad. They adapted to life with restrictions because that was the way a person showed their support of the military. In addition to clothes, food, and gas, Americans had to adapt to other changes during World War II. They had to black out their windows and follow curfews. In author Stanley Weintraub’s book, Pearl Harbor Christmas, he recalls life during World War II. Weintraub recounts that some buildings had “lookouts for air attacks” and “anti-aircraft guns of dubious usefulness atop” (49). He tells of how Winston Churchill’s visit to the United States went and the restrictions he was under while hosting America’s ally. In Unbroken, Hillenbrand writes that people in Oahu adapted to hiding after the attack on Pearl Harbor. “Each night, the island disappeared; every window was
Open Document