How the frontier shaped the american character

Awarded his doctorate inhe was one of the first historians professionally trained in the United States rather than Europe. Turner began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin in

How the frontier shaped the american character

The Frontier and American Character The frontier has long held a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Since shortly after the first colonies were founded on the Atlantic coast, the frontier has beckoned to settlers.

The frontier was the wilderness just outside the civilized towns; it offered people an opportunity to strike out and succeed on their own. In Europe, a serf a laborer who works the land and is owned by the lord who owns the land could never think of leaving his allotted plot of land to rise from poverty, nor could a shopkeeper's son ever hope to run his own store before his father's death.

But in America, a hardy immigrant could determine his or her own destiny on the unknown frontier.

Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the frontier, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which engendered such traits as self-reliance, individualism, inventiveness, restless energy, mobility, materialism, and optimism. Turner’s “frontier thesis” rose to become the dominant. The American was a new man, he held, who owed his distinctive characteristics and institutions to the unusual New World environment—characterized by the availability of free land and an ever-receding frontier —in which his civilization had grown to maturity. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American. At first, the frontier was the Atlantic coast. It was the frontier of Europe in a very real sense. Moving westward, .

To venture into the wilderness took daring and courage. Pioneers carried their belongings until they found a spot worth claiming. Whole families or groups of people gathered to venture out into the unknown with a wagon train of supplies. Forging their own way or following others' dusty tracks, pioneers braved Indian attacks and unknown environments to find a satisfactory plot of land.

After trekking hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles, the pioneers built their homes and other necessary buildings, gathered and hunted the bounties of the new land or cleared fields for crops, and set about establishing the rules for their new life on the frontier.

Each of these tasks made up the process of "frontiering. Defining the frontier By definition, the American frontier meant the vast unclaimed land west of white civilization.

As whites spread westward from the Atlantic coast, the boundary of the frontier also moved farther west. As each group of pioneers carved out their spot on the frontier, communities soon developed around them. The land became "civilized" as pioneers forced Indians to move farther west, and the small settlements grew into thriving towns.

The Frontier and American Character

The newly civilized land now bordered on the frontier. From the first settlements at Jamestown inthe process of frontiering was repeated for three hundred years until the entire continent was settled. By the colonial period, civilization had reached the crest of the Appalachian Mountains.

After the War of —14 settlements civilized the land up to the banks of the Mississippi River. But it was not until the mids that large numbers of settlers ventured farther than the Mississippi River.

These settlers arrived on the Pacific coast and, inestablished the state of California. From that point, on the frontier—the wild, unclaimed land—consisted of the Great Plainsthe desert Southwest, and the Rocky Mountains.

Four centuries after the discovery of America, the frontier had disappeared. The hardiest fur traders and mountain men had explored and settled parts of the West long before the mass western emigrations demanded complete American control of the territory between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

While the fur traders and mountain men arrived first, and in some cases established American claims to territories, mass emigrations do more to illustrate the extraordinary pull of the frontier.

Between andnearly half a million Americans set out across the frontier. Trappers, traders, farmers, and families set out on a journey of discovery. The pioneers traveled across plains and deserts and over high mountain passes, taking a chance that there was a better life somewhere to the west.

They endured weeks and even months of arduous travel in order to reach their destination and build the communities that defined the American West. The call of the West On the American frontier, as in few other places on earth, a person amounted to the sum of his or her skills and endurance.

How the frontier shaped the american character

Without the established lines of ancestry and wealth that made up the social structure in Europe, success on the American frontier, with its wealth of natural resources and fertile lands, was open to anyone strong enough or courageous enough to master it.

Never before had a society offered all its citizens the opportunity for success.SHAPED THE UlIHiffl HHHH By RAY ALLEN BILLINGTON American character The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist.

It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, "The Significance of the Frontier in American His-. He is best known for his essay "The Significance of the Frontier in American History", whose ideas formed the Frontier Thesis.

He argued that the moving western frontier shaped American democracy and the American character from the colonial era until The American frontier comprises the geography, Frederick Jackson Turner seized upon the statistic to announce the end of the era in which the frontier process shaped the American character.

Fresh farmland was increasingly hard to find after —although the railroads advertised some in eastern Montana. Turner held that the American character was decisively shaped by conditions on the frontier, in particular the abundance of free land, the settling of which engendered such traits as self-reliance, individualism, inventiveness, restless energy, mobility, materialism, and optimism.

Turner’s “frontier thesis” rose to become the dominant. Westward expansion shaped the character of the United States in many different ways. Westward movement, also known as Manifest Destiny, dictated American’s course as a . The article discusses the frontier theory of Frederick Jackson Turner on how the frontier shaped the American character.

Turner believed that the characteristics associated with Americans can be traced from frontier traits such as inventiveness and willingness to accept innovation, materialism and exaggerated nationalism.

HOW THE FRONTIER SHAPED AMERICAN CHARACTER