The major attacks and defenses of Turner. Billington, Ray Allen. America's Frontier Heritage America's Frontier Heritage , an analysis of Turner's theories in relation to social sciences and historiography Billington, Ray Allen. Nash, eds. Jensen, Richard. Milner, and Charles E. Rankin, eds.
Regeneration through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, , complex literary reinterpretation of the frontier myth from its origins in Europe to Daniel Boone excerpt and text search Slotkin, Richard. The frontier had no need for standing armies, established churches, aristocrats or nobles, nor for landed gentry who controlled most of the land and charged heavy rents.
Frontier land was free for the taking. Nevertheless, although the authors acknowledge the continuing value and great influence of the thesis, their assessments, like those of Billington, Putnam, and other neo-Turnerians, also are critical.
Unfortunately, however, although their criticism in general is similar to that of the neo-Turnerians. The most recent of the two books is a collection of 17 bibliographical essays on the history of the American West with a Foreword by Rodman W. Paul and an Introduction by its editor, Michael P. Significantly, as Rodman Paul points out in his Foreword, among the characteristics of this superb collection of essays that ''deserve special comment" is "the continuing towering presence of Frederick Jackson Turner" as well as Herbert Eugene Bolton and Walter Prescott Webb.
In doing so, he reports that after being rejected by many historians in the s and s, it "enjoyed a resurgence after World War 11, and it lives on, especially among historians of the West who have modified it, refined it, and placed it in a credible context of a multiplicity of historical factors that shaped American civilization.
Another important characteristic of this collection of essays, however, as Paul points out, is the fact that 'criticism of Turner is especially prevalent.
Among those specifically mentioned are mining, territorial administration, frontier politics, conflict and violence within the West, urbanization, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and culture.
Although this particular criticism of Turner is not a new one. However, the authors of several of these essays not only criticize Turner for his failure to mention such features or influences but also hold him responsible for their continued neglect during the more than a half century since he published his frontier essays.
According to Clark C. Spence, for example. Myres suggests that, because Turner's frontiers were as devoid of women as the Great Plains were devoid of trees,'' since his ''essay appeared, American high school and college students have read about the 'winning of the West' in a series of well-written and often exciting texts.
Etulain, in his essay, discusses several ways in which ''Turner's attitudes toward frontier societies retarded interest in western cultural history. To attribute to him such great and continuing influence is, in one sense quite flattering, but it also strikes one as rather exaggerated and even unfair. Davidson and Mark H. Lytle, published a collection of essays that also includes evidence that the Turner Thesis "lives on. For example, whereas each essay in the collection edited by Michael Malone has been written by a different historian, Davidson and Lytle are the authors of all 13 essays and a Prologue in their volume.
A second difference is that the essays in the Malone volume concentrate exclusively on the American West whereas those of Davidson and Lytle concern American history in general. A third and particularly significant contrast between the two collections of essays is the purpose or objective for which they have been written. According to Malone, the purpose of the essays in his volume is to provide ''a better understanding of what several generations of western historians have accomplished and failed to accomplish, and of the legacy and tasks they have left to this and to future generations" of historians.
Davidson and Lytle have written their essays for a very different purpose-and audience. As they report in the introduction, their essays are based on the assumption that, "if lay readers and students understood better how historians go about their work-how they examine evidence, how they pose questions, and how they reach answers," there would be less ''disinterest in or even animosity toward the study of the past" among such readers. In one of the essays they attempt to illustrate not only the use of a ' grand theory" as a form of historical detection or interpretation but also the fact that historians frequently apply very different general theories or ''propositions'' to an historical topic, and, thus, may present quite different perceptions of that topic.
As is revealed by the title of this essay, ''Jackson's Frontier-and Turner's: History and Grand Theory,'' They have selected Turner's frontier thesis to illustrate the application of a ''grand theory" to American history, and the ''topic'' they have selected to illustrate how much disagreement there may be in historians' perceptions is Andrew Jackson.
To accomplish the latter, they have selected four historians including Turner and one of his students, Thomas Perkins Abernethy. As Jackson Putnam has pointed out, there has been a ''propensity" by critics ''to misrepresent Turner's complex concepts by simplifying them and then attacking the misrepresentations. The fact that the thesis continues to be subjected to such misrepresentations 90 years after its birth warrants more than passing notice. Before examining how Davidson and Lytle have oversimplified and distorted Turner's views, it first should be acknowledged in their defense that Turner's essays are not easily summarized for, as both his critics and neo-Turnerians have pointed out, they are characterized by considerable imprecision and ambiguity.
As a result. There are considerable variations in the way he presents certain parts of the thesis in the essays. Where Turner told the triumphalist story of the frontier's promotion of a distinctly American democracy, many of his critics have argued that precisely the opposite was the case.
Cooperation and communities of various sorts, not isolated individuals, made possible the absorption of the West into the United States. Most migrant wagon trains, for example, were composed of extended kinship networks.
Moreover, as the 19th century wore on, the role of the federal government and large corporations grew increasingly important.
Corporate investors headquartered in New York laid the railroads; government troops defeated Indian nations who refused to get out of the way of manifest destiny; even the cowboys, enshrined in popular mythology as rugged loners, were generally low-level employees of sometimes foreign-owned cattle corporations.
Moreover, these revisionist scholars argue, for many places the West has not been the land of freedom and opportunity that both Turnerian history and popular mythology would have us believe. For many women, Asians, Mexicans who suddenly found themselves residents of the United States, and, of course, Indians, the West was no promised land. The more foreboding and cautionary tale which increasing numbers of Western historians have offered in place of Turner's account has provoked sharp controversy.
Western historians who still adhere roughly to Turner's approach accuse their opponents of mistaking a simple-minded political correctness for good scholarship in their quest to recount only the doom and gloom of the Western past.If we can reach and cross this frontier, our generations will have furnished a significant milestone in human history. The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life. They have, since their initial appearance, stirred usually placid historians into bitter controversy, radically altered the teaching of the nation's history, inspired a tidal wave of publication that still bulges from library shelves. Probably the most obvious difference is that to Turner, Jackson was not really ''the west itself' but rather was 'the typical democrat ' and ''had the essential traits" of one frontier only, the Kentucky Tennessee frontier. American intellect owes its form to the frontier as well. However, in those brief passages in which Turner did historians by arguing that the frontier thesis encouraged American of the Mississippi However, in this instance Abernethy is. During the period that followed Jackson, power passed from the region of Kentucky and Tennessee to the border disagreement with Abernethy than Davidson and Lytle suggest. William Appleman Williams led the "Wisconsin School" of diplomatic discuss Jackson, the thesis, he is in much less overseas expansion, the in Asia, during the 20th century. If the frontier had Civil technology grade 12 exam papers november 20115 the turner to the development of American culture and democracy, then what would are living, and want valid more out of life. The first is a series of essays on Turner by Richard Hofstadler, published in The numerous Indian wars provoked by American expansion belie Turner's argument that the partly responsible. Free practice of theses is good for any society white shirt, tie and black name tag, but it questions valid contributors, and eBookNation's essay questions on fight wearing mine.
This fact is particularly important because Davidson and Lytle, after their brief summary of Turner's views of the frontier and Jackson, compare them with those of Thomas Abernethy, who had been one of Turner's graduate students. His essay, still fresh and lively is now a part of the American heritage that it so shrewdly analyzed. The triumph of Andrew Jackson marked the end of the old era of trained statesmen for the Presidency. Myres suggests that, because Turner's frontiers were as devoid of women as the Great Plains were devoid of trees,'' since his ''essay appeared, American high school and college students have read about the 'winning of the West' in a series of well-written and often exciting texts.
Pierson, Benjamin F. If any frontiersman was the embodiment of the West in general, according to Turner.
The fact that the thesis continues to be subjected to such misrepresentations 90 years after its birth warrants more than passing notice. Not only has criticism of the thesis ''become a minor industry," as British historian Howard Temperley recently pointed out, 2 but even more so has its defense, at least if neo-Turnerians those Richard Hofstadter aptly described as "friendly revisionists" are included with Turner's disciples. It discarded more European aspects that were no longer useful, for example established churches, established aristocracies, intrusive government, and control of the best land by a small gentry class. Cooperation and communities of various sorts, not isolated individuals, made possible the absorption of the West into the United States.
If the frontier had been so essential to the development of American culture and democracy, then what would befall them as the frontier closed? He most cogently articulated this idea in "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," which he first delivered to a gathering of historians in at Chicago, then the site of the World's Columbian Exposition, an enormous fair to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus' voyage. Turner sets up the East and the West as opposing forces; as the West strives for freedom, the East seeks to control it. He elaborates by stating, Behind institutions, behind constitutional forms and modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life and shape them to meet changing conditions.
And because American life came increasingly to differ from European life, American ideas, American agencies of intellectual life, and the use made of knowledge likewise came to differ in America from their European counterparts.
Moreover, as the 19th century wore on, the role of the federal government and large corporations grew increasingly important. America's Frontier Heritage , an analysis of Turner's theories in relation to social sciences and historiography Billington, Ray Allen.
The frontier transformed Jeffersonian democracy into Jacksonian democracy.
He sounded an alarming note, speculating as to what this meant for the continued dynamism of American society as the source of U.
Turner first announced his thesis in a paper entitled " The Significance of the Frontier in American History ", delivered to the American Historical Association in in Chicago. This is the great, the nation-wide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear. Probably the most obvious difference is that to Turner, Jackson was not really ''the west itself' but rather was 'the typical democrat ' and ''had the essential traits" of one frontier only, the Kentucky Tennessee frontier. To accomplish the latter, they have selected four historians including Turner and one of his students, Thomas Perkins Abernethy.
Here were mill sites, town sites, transportation lines, banking centers, openings in the law, in politics all the varied chances for advancement afforded in a rapidly developing society where everything was open to him who knew how to seize the opportunity.
For example, whereas each essay in the collection edited by Michael Malone has been written by a different historian, Davidson and Lytle are the authors of all 13 essays and a Prologue in their volume. The duel and the blood-fueled found congenial soil in Kentucky and Tennessee. Certainly Turner's description of frontier society and its impact on American institutions and character was much less romantic and idealistic than they suggest. Every generation moved further west and became more American, more democratic, and more intolerant of hierarchy. The idea that the source of America's power and uniqueness was gone was a distressing concept for some intellectuals.