The Issues Involved In The End Of The American Frontier

1868 words - 8 pages

The American Frontier was considered one of the last great opportunities of theUnited States. Its whole existence made America what America was intended to be, aland to start over, a new ground which for many would result in the eventual expansionand diminishing of the frontier. Many arguments arouse around the 1890's to whetherthis great opportunity was coming to a close. These arguments brought abouta lot of controversy for the time and even for the present day. In "The Significance of theFrontier in American History" written in 1893 by Frederick Jackson Turner several pointsare called upon to show the existence of this frontier was discontinued.The first of these points was that in the ...view middle of the document...

His duty being tosurvive, but not realizing that he is creating from this wilderness into what is nowAmerica.His second point of argument he contrasts the American frontier with that of theEuropean one, "the European frontier - a fortified boundary line running through densepopulations... The most significant thing about the American Frontier is that it lies at thehither edge of free land." He means that to Europeans, the frontier is nothing but aborder between population and dense populations, an area where cities meet the ruralareas. To Americans, however this frontier was the mark between "America" and thewilderness. It was intended to Americanize this area. " The frontier is the line of mostrapid and effective Americanization. It finds him a European in dress.....and puts him inthe birch canoe.....He must accept the conditions which it furnishes..... Little by little hetransforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe.....The fact is, that hereis a new product which is American. To learn about this advance is to learn about howour way of life today was effected by how this Americanization occurred.I can not say I fully agree with the statement mentioned because it is far too loosea subject to say that this was the only factor involved in such evolution of "the Americanway of life". A lot more had to play into it, a lot more than survival. Sure it did influencea great deal, but the main influence was most probably the instinct of the human individualthat kept him on this road. It is say that it is our course in nature to create an organizedsociety. Because of our intelligence it will happen if we give it enough time andbecause of the factors involved; environment, inhabitants, and survival, that we becamewhat is this so called " American way of life"The third point argued stated that the frontier differed for each profession or tradethat each occupation had its own area of advancement. Each passed in successive wavesacross the continent. He states there are several levels of these frontiers. They consist ofthe trader's frontier, the miner's frontier, and the farmer's frontier. The trader's frontierhad the most impact on the advance of the other frontiers. "The records of various NewEngland colonies show how steadily exploration was carried into the wilderness by thistrade... The Ohio, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Platte, the linesof western advance were ascended by traders. They found the passes in the RockyMountains, and guided Lewis and Clark, Fremont and Bidwell. The trading post had leftthe unarmed Indian tribes to the mercy of those tribes who had purchased weapons fromthe traders. Thus this advance of traders was welcomed by many Indian societies in hopeof keeping up with their fellow tribes. The Indian trade pioneered the way for civilization."the buffalo trail became the Indian trail, and this became the trader's 'trace'; the trailswidened into roads, and the roads into turnpikes, and these...

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