Frontier Thesis And American Exceptionalism

Frontier Thesis And American Exceptionalism-8
The frontier experience, Turner maintained, explains America's departure from its European roots. The second essay, Richard White's "When Frederick Jackson Turner and Buffalo Bill Cody Both Played Chicago in 1893," carries the introductory question, "How has the idea of the frontier shaped our imagination?" White's intriguing and insightful analysis compares Cody and Turner as chief architects of frontier iconography. Zeman (Humanities Department, New Mexico Tech (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology)) Published on H-Survey (January, 2000) In Richard Etulain's fine introduction to this volume, the editor relates how once when he was speaking to a group of students in the Philippines, a student in the audience pointedly asked him, "Why do you Americans think you're so successful? Are they in fact "special" compared to other nations?

Unfortunately, the essays included (except for Turner's) fail to adequately address the central question posed by the volume, or engage the debate in any but the most oblique ways.

One problem is that all of the historians included in the volume are specialists in the American West and their works have a different historiographical focus.

The next essay in the volume is Donald Worster's oft-reproduced, and oft-quoted, "New West, True West: Interpreting the Region's History." Worster raises the now well-worn debate among western historians: Should the West be considered as a place, more or less definable on a map (region), or as a process (frontier)?

Worster opts for a regional model loosely based on Walter Prescott Webb's pioneering work.

Each essay in the series is introduced by one central question and a useful list of "Questions for a Closer Reading." In this volume, for example, the first essay, Frederick Jackson Turner's "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," is paired with the question: "How was the idea of the 'frontier' born?

" No single historian has been so closely associated with the affirmative response to the exceptionalism question as Frederick Jackson Turner.

Should it be abandoned, or is it valuable in understanding American society and culture?

" Very good questions, but students will have to look elsewhere for answers.

In the most memorable part of his essay, Worster admits, and many westerners no doubt agree, that "I know in my bones, if not always through my education, that Webb was right" (93).

By looking at the larger historical forces at play in the region, Worster's essay verges on addressing the exceptionalism question, but his purpose lies elsewhere.

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  • Does the Frontier Experience Make America Exceptional.
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    Does the frontier experience make America exceptional? When Frederick Jackson Turner presented this idea in 1893 as the core of his now-famous thesis, he set in motion a debate that historians of the American West have contended with ever since.…

  • The End of American Exceptionalism frontier anxiety from the Old West.
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    The American frontier was officially closed, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, in 1890. Yet more homesteads were settled in the first few decades of the twentieth century than in the entire nineteenth century. "Frontier anxiety," then, really was caused not by the closing of the frontier, but by.…

  • Marx’s America -
    Reply

    Marx also predicted that another aspect of American exceptionalism — the frontier — would eventually wither. Anticipating Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis,” Marx argued that European immigrants would no longer be welcomed with land, and more importantly, the autonomy that came with land ownership. This, he divined, would.…

  • H-Net Reviews
    Reply

    According to Turner, who presented his famous Frontier Thesis in 1893, what made the United States unique was the frontier experience, that movement of European-Americans from the East into the "open" spaces of the West. The crucible of the frontier forged the American character as independent, rugged, and democratic.…

  • American exceptionalism explained
    Reply

    American exceptionalism explained. American exceptionalism should not be confused with Americanism ideology. American exceptionalism is one of three related ideas. The first is that the history of the United States is inherently different from those of other nations.…

  • What is an example of American Exceptionalism -
    Reply

    What is a frontier thesis? conclusion of tuner that the wellsprings of American exceptionalism and utality have always been the American frontier the region between urbanized civilised society and.…

  • Sticks, Stones, and American Exceptionalism We're History
    Reply

    Most scholars trace the origin of that term either to the American historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis” Turner cited the nation’s possession of a frontier for most of its history as the factor differentiating America from other nations and peoples or to Marxist polemicists, who sought to figure out why socialism.…

  • John Gast, American Progress 1872 - edu
    Reply

    Frontier spirit. Proponents of American exceptionalism often claim that the "American spirit" or the "American identity" was created at the frontier following Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis, where rugged and untamed conditions gave birth to American national vitality.…

  • Frontier Thesis - Academic Kids
    Reply

    The Frontier Thesis or Turner Thesis is the conclusion of Frederick Jackson Turner that the wellsprings of American exceptionalism and vitality have always been the American frontier, the region between urbanized, civilized society and the untamed wildnerness. In the thesis, the frontier was seen as a region that created freedom, "breaking the.…

  • The American Frontier as State of Nature - journals.
    Reply

    Through a close examination of Turner’s 1966 1893 frontier thesis and Hartz’s 1955 liberal tradition in light of the historical conditions on the American frontier, I explore the value of the state of nature concept in historical context. In the process, I consider the unique course of American political development.…

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