The Significance of the Frontier in American History

Make sure you read this entire post. Should I even have to say that?

By the next B/C day (January 20-21) , you need to have carefully read Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis,” otherwise known as “the Significance of the Frontier in American History.” This essay was originally given as a speech to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

This thesis, mentioned in Chapter 26, is a pretty famous theory (still the subject of debate) upon the effect the frontier as an idea as well as a geographical reality had upon the development of the American character as well as American society. Historians of the American West often still describe themselves as Turnerians or anti-Turnerians in response to this famous thesis.

Make sure you read the speech he gave, NOT NOT NOT the entire book which is at the University of Virginia’s xroads site.

Here are some links for the thesis, so that you can get started right away:

This is the questions website, where you can get the questions you may want to do to help you understand the essay and to pass any quiz I may give you over this information.

The essay can be located here for the Primary Sources in American history version.

Or, if that link doesn’t work, here’s another copy from a Wisconsin authors website.

I would strongly suggest that if you are struggling, you try reading an explanatory essay on Turner and his ideas. This is a commentary on the significance of the speech from the PBS website on The West.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by mattjew on January 7, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    Should we read the entire thing on that one website because it looks really long. I have many things to do this week and I just don’t think I can devote enough time to this class.

    P.S. I’m just messing with you, Scoop.

  2. PBBBBBTH!

  3. Posted by mattjew on January 8, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I’m sorry. I don’t know psycho teacher speak.

  4. Posted by megan on January 8, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    on the first link were do u go to, all I can fing is the book

  5. Posted by mattjew on January 8, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Click the second link. It has everything you need.

  6. Posted by E=mc2 on January 9, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    Did you get a chance to post the actual questions you would like us to answer? or do you just want us to answer the questions on the first website?

  7. Posted by pjj on January 10, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    can’t we just pick one

  8. Posted by steve on January 16, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    when he is talking about the life of the frontiersmen in paragraph 12 would he be refering to mountian men like Daniel boone or guys that were just socially enept

  9. Posted by BACfrom(now)5th on January 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I think that Turner’s point wasn’t so much to stress specifically who it was about, but more the fact that the people in the region were not following the development process of old Europe, but were rather following a pattern which was entirely new and “American”

  10. Posted by Rhian_Rochelle on January 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    You know what? It’s a good thing I have no life outside of school…. Otherwise, I highly doubt I would even have bothered pretending to look at this…

    Curse the combination of determination and procrasitnation!

  11. You know what else? There’s going to be a quiz over this reading, so I hope y’all do more than just look at it. That’s why you were given a week to do this….

  12. Posted by BACfrom(now)5th on January 18, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for the heads up…!

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