James Jun Pribaz APUSH 5 13 February 2013 Frontier Thesis- Summary, Agreement, and Why “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development. ” In this article, Frederick Jackson Turner believes that, in relation to his frontier thesis, the history of the United States is most influenced mainly by how Americans had assimilated the West into the culture they held.
The frontier, in Turner’s stance, was where settlers had restarted civilization as a whole and begun to redevelop the conditions present further east in the United States. By doing so, the frontier is classified as being the most rapidly Americanized area in the whole nation; however, the frontier also influenced the culture of the United States by promoting individualism, American ingenuity, and a restless amount of energy. Additionally supporting his argument, Turner also pointed out the dangers of having no frontier. Turner began to question the possible outcomes from the dissipation of the frontier.
Historians, on the other hand, took up a different view on the frontier and its effect on American culture. The historians believed that, instead of the frontier, other factors had influenced the history of the United States, such as slavery, the Civil War, capitalism, and slavery. Furthermore, they hotly contested Turner’s claim of “free land. ” The historians declared that the land, which was inhabited by the Indians, was in all actuality not free at all as countless wars had been fought for this land, resulting in many deaths.
The historians also challenged Turner’s thesis by stating how communities, corporations, and even the federal government had allowed the inhabitation of the West, instead of individualism. Therefore, Turner’s thesis and the thoughts of the historians contrasted sharply; however, both sides acquiesced to the idea that the West had influenced us to some extent. I disagree with the “frontier thesis” that Frederick Jackson Turner had claimed was true.
Instead of the frontier influencing the history of the United States, I agree with the historians that many other factors had played a role in molding how the nation progressed. Events like slavery, the Civil War, capitalism, the railroad, immigration, and numerous inventions all had significant impacts on how American culture came to be. Turner also emphasized how the land was free on the frontier which could clearly and concisely explain the development of the nation. In contrast, I believe that the land in the west was free in thought, but not free in reality.
As more and more settlers poured to the west after the Homestead Act, it became rather evident that the West offered little to no prosperity. The weather was dreadful, life was relatively isolated as most western settlers were farmers, and the soil was inhospitable to crops. Therefore, I diverge on the stance that Turner advocated for, which stated that the frontier had mainly impacted American history, and hold that countless other factors had played a great part in America’s development, not just one particular one.