frederick jackson turner frontier thesis full text

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Frederick jackson turner frontier thesis full text

ACADEMIC EDITOR SITE

The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the "settled area" of the census reports.

This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it. In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe.

Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. 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, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin.

It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick: he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion.

In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. 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, the frontier became more and more American. As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations, so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics.

Thus the advance of the frontier has meant a steady movement away from the influence of Europe, a steady growth of independence on American lines. And to study this advance, the men who grew up under these conditions, and the political, economic, and social results of it, is to study the really American part of our history.

In the course of the seventeenth century the frontier was advanced up the Atlantic river courses, just beyond the "fall line," and the tidewater region became the settled area. In the first half of the eighteenth century another advance occurred. Traders followed the Delaware and Shawnese Indians to the Ohio as early as the end of the first quarter of the century.

Spotswood, of Virginia, made an expedition in across the Blue Ridge. The end of the first quarter of the century saw the advance of the Scotch-Irish and the Palatine Germans up the Shenandoah Valley into the western part of Virginia, and along the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. In Pennsylvania the town of Bedford indicates the line of settlement.

The King attempted to arrest the advance by his proclamation of , forbidding settlements beyond the sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic; but in vain. In the period of the Revolution the frontier crossed the Alleghanies into Kentucky and Tennessee, and the upper waters of the Ohio were settled. When the first census was taken in , the continuous settled area was bounded by a line which ran near the coast of Maine, and included New England except a portion of Vermont and New Hampshire, New York along the Hudson and up the Mohawk about Schenectady, eastern and southern Pennsylvania, Virginia well across the Shenandoah Valley, and the Carolinas and eastern Georgia.

Beyond this region of continuous settlement were the small settled areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the Ohio, with the mountains intervening between them and the Atlantic area, thus giving a new and important character to the frontier. The isolation of the region increased its peculiarly American tendencies, and the need of transportation facilities to connect it with the East called out important schemes of internal improvement, which will be noted farther on.

The "West," as a self-conscious section, began to evolve. From decade to decade distinct advances of the frontier occurred. By the census of the settled area included Ohio, southern Indiana and Illinois, southeastern Missouri, and about one-half of Louisiana. This settled area had surrounded Indian areas, and the management of these tribes became an object of political concern. The frontier region of the time lay along the Great Lakes, where Astor's American Fur Company operated in the Indian trade, and beyond the Mississippi, where Indian traders extended their activity even to the Rocky Mountains; Florida also furnished frontier conditions.

The Mississippi River region was the scene of typical frontier settlements. The rising steam navigation on western waters, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the westward extension of cotton culture added five frontier states to the Union in this period.

But all the more important expeditions were greatly indebted to the earliest pathmakers, the Indian guides, the traders and trappers, and the French voyageurs, who were inevitable parts of governmental expeditions from the days of Lewis and Clark. In an interesting monograph, Victor Hehn [] has traced the effect of salt upon early European development, and has pointed out how it affected the lines of settlement and the form of administration.

A similar study might be made for the salt springs of the United States. The early settlers were tied to the coast by the need of salt, without which they could not preserve their meats or live in comfort. Either they must go to Charleston, which is miles distant. Or else they must go down the Roanoke—I know not how many miles—where salt is brought up from the Cape Fear. An annual pilgrimage to the coast for salt thus became essential. Taking flocks or furs and ginseng root, the early settlers sent their pack trains after seeding time each year to the coast.

But when discovery was made of the salt springs of the Kanawha, and the Holston, and Kentucky, and central New York, the West began to be freed from dependence on the coast. It was in part the effect of finding these salt springs that enabled settlement to cross the mountains.

From the time the mountains rose between the pioneer and the seaboard, a new order of Americanism arose. The West and the East began to get out of touch of each other. The settlements from the sea to the mountains kept connection with the rear and had a certain solidarity. But the over-mountain men grew more and more independent. The East took a narrow view of American advance, and nearly lost these men.

Kentucky and Tennessee history bears abundant witness to the truth of this statement. The East began to try to hedge and limit westward expansion. Though Webster could declare that there were no Alleghanies in his politics, yet in politics in general they were a very solid factor. The exploitation of the beasts took hunter and trader to the west, the exploitation of the grasses took the rancher west, and the exploitation of the virgin soil of the river valleys and prairies attracted the farmer.

Good soils have been the most continuous attraction to the farmer's frontier. The land hunger of the Virginians drew them down the rivers into Carolina, in early colonial days; the search for soils took the Massachusetts men to Pennsylvania and to New York. As the eastern lands were taken up migration flowed across them to the west. Daniel Boone, the great backwoodsman, who combined the occupations of hunter, trader, cattle-raiser, farmer, and surveyor—learning, probably from the traders, of the fertility of the lands of the upper Yadkin, where the traders were wont to rest as they took their way to the Indians, left his Pennsylvania home with his father, and passed down the [ 19 ] Great Valley road to that stream.

Learning from a trader of the game and rich pastures of Kentucky, he pioneered the way for the farmers to that region. Thence he passed to the frontier of Missouri, where his settlement was long a landmark on the frontier. Here again he helped to open the way for civilization, finding salt licks, and trails, and land.

His son was among the earliest trappers in the passes of the Rocky Mountains, and his party are said to have been the first to camp on the present site of Denver. His grandson, Col. Boone, of Colorado, was a power among the Indians of the Rocky Mountains, and was appointed an agent by the government. Kit Carson's mother was a Boone.

The farmer's advance came in a distinct series of waves. Generally, in all the western settlements, three classes, like the waves of the ocean, have rolled one after the other. First comes the pioneer, who depends for the subsistence of his family chiefly upon the natural growth of vegetation, called the "range," and the proceeds of hunting. His implements of agriculture are rude, chiefly of his own make, and his efforts directed mainly to a crop of corn and a "truck patch.

A log cabin, and, occasionally, a stable and corn-crib, and a field of a dozen acres, the timber girdled or "deadened," and fenced, are enough for his occupancy. It is quite immaterial whether he ever becomes the [ 20 ] owner of the soil. He is the occupant for the time being, pays no rent, and feels as independent as the "lord of the manor. He builds his cabin, gathers around him a few other families of similar tastes and habits, and occupies till the range is somewhat subdued, and hunting a little precarious, or, which is more frequently the case, till the neighbors crowd around, roads, bridges, and fields annoy him, and he lacks elbow room.

The next class of emigrants purchase the lands, add field to field, clear out the roads, throw rough bridges over the streams, put up hewn log houses with glass windows and brick or stone chimneys, occasionally plant orchards, build mills, school-houses, court-houses, etc. Another wave rolls on. The men of capital and enterprise come. The settler is ready to sell out and take the advantage of the rise in property, push farther into the interior and become, himself, a man of capital and enterprise in turn.

The small village rises to a spacious town or city; substantial edifices of brick, extensive fields, orchards, gardens, colleges, and churches are seen. Broadcloths, silks, leghorns, crapes, and all the refinements, [ 21 ] luxuries, elegancies, frivolities, and fashions are in vogue. Thus wave after wave is rolling westward; the real Eldorado is still farther on. A portion of the two first classes remain stationary amidst the general movement, improve their habits and condition, and rise in the scale of society.

The writer has traveled much amongst the first class, the real pioneers. He has lived many years in connection with the second grade; and now the third wave is sweeping over large districts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Migration has become almost a habit in the West. Hundreds of men can be found, not over 50 years of age, who have settled for the fourth, fifth, or sixth time on a new spot. To sell out and remove only a few hundred miles makes up a portion of the variety of backwoods life and manners.

Omitting those of the pioneer farmers who move from the love of adventure, the advance of the more steady farmer is easy to understand. Obviously the immigrant was attracted by the cheap lands of the frontier, and even the native farmer felt their influence strongly. Year by year the farmers who lived on soil whose returns were diminished by unrotated crops were offered the virgin soil of the frontier at nominal prices.

Their growing families demanded more lands, and these were dear. The competition of the unexhausted, cheap, [ 22 ] and easily tilled prairie lands compelled the farmer either to go west and continue the exhaustion of the soil on a new frontier, or to adopt intensive culture. Thus the census of shows, in the Northwest, many counties in which there is an absolute or a relative decrease of population.

These States have been sending farmers to advance the frontier on the plains, and have themselves begun to turn to intensive farming and to manufacture. A decade before this, Ohio had shown the same transition stage. Thus the demand for land and the love of wilderness freedom drew the frontier ever onward. Having now roughly outlined the various kinds of frontiers, and their modes of advance, chiefly from the point of view of the frontier itself, we may next inquire what were the influences on the East and on the Old World.

A rapid enumeration of some of the more noteworthy effects is all that I have time for. First, we note that the frontier promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people. The coast was preponderantly English, but the later tides of continental immigration flowed across to the free lands. This was the case from the early colonial days.

The Scotch-Irish and the Palatine Germans, or "Pennsylvania Dutch," furnished the dominant element in the stock of the colonial frontier. With these peoples were also the freed indented servants, or redemptioners, who at the expiration of their time of service passed to the frontier.

Governor Spotswood of Virginia writes in , "The inhabitants of our frontiers are composed generally of such as have been transported hither as servants, and, being out of their time, settle themselves where land is to be taken up and that will produce the necessarys of life with little labour. In the crucible of the frontier the immigrants were Americanized, liberated, and fused into a mixed race, English in neither nationality nor characteristics.

The process has gone on from the early days to our own. Burke and other writers in the middle of the eighteenth century believed that Pennsylvania [] was "threatened with the danger of being wholly foreign in language, manners, and perhaps even inclinations. In the middle of the present century the German element in Wisconsin was already so considerable that leading publicists looked to the creation of a German state out of the commonwealth by concentrating their colonization.

In another way the advance of the frontier decreased our dependence on England. The coast, particularly of the South, lacked diversified industries, and was dependent on England for the bulk of its supplies. In the South there was even a dependence on the Northern colonies for articles of food. Governor Glenn, of South Carolina, writes in the middle of the eighteenth century: "Our trade with New York and Philadelphia was of this sort, draining us of all the little money and bills we could gather from other places for their bread, flour, beer, hams, bacon, and other things of their produce, all which, except beer, our new townships begin to supply us with, which are settled with very industrious and thriving Germans.

This no doubt diminishes the number of shipping and the appearance of our trade, but it is far from being a detriment to us. Before long the frontier created a demand for merchants. As it retreated from the coast it became less and less possible for England to bring her supplies directly to the consumer's wharfs, and carry away staple crops, and staple crops began to give way to diversified agriculture for a time.

The effect of this phase of the frontier action upon the northern section is perceived when we realize how the advance of the frontier aroused seaboard cities like Boston, New York, and Baltimore, to engage in rivalry for what Washington called "the extensive and valuable trade of a rising empire.

The legislation which most developed the powers of the national government, and played the largest part in its activity, was conditioned on the frontier. Writers have discussed the subjects of tariff, land, and internal improvement, as subsidiary to the slavery question. But when American history comes to be rightly viewed it will be seen that the slavery question is an incident. In the period from the end of the first half of the present century to the close of the Civil War slavery rose to primary, but far from exclusive, importance.

But this does not justify Dr. Even so recent a writer as Rhodes, in his "History of the United States since the Compromise of ," has treated the legislation called out by the western advance as incidental to the slavery struggle.

This is a wrong perspective. The pioneer needed the goods of the coast, and so the grand series of internal improvement and railroad legislation began, with potent nationalizing effects. Over internal improvements occurred great debates, in which [ 25 ] grave constitutional questions were discussed. Sectional groupings appear in the votes, profoundly significant for the historian.

Loose construction increased as the nation marched westward. Under the lead of Clay—"Harry of the West"—protective tariffs were passed, with the cry of bringing the factory to the farm. The disposition of the public lands was a third important subject of national legislation influenced by the frontier. The public domain has been a force of profound importance in the nationalization and development of the government. The effects of the struggle of the landed and the landless States, and of the Ordinance of , need no discussion.

The purchase of Louisiana was perhaps the constitutional turning point in the history of the Republic, inasmuch as it afforded both a new area for national legislation and the occasion of the downfall of the policy of strict construction. But the purchase of Louisiana was called out by frontier needs and demands.

As frontier States accrued to the Union the national power grew. In a speech on the dedication of the Calhoun monument Mr. Lamar explained: "In the States were the creators of the Federal Government; in the Federal Government was the creator of a large majority of the States. When we consider the public domain from the point of view of the sale and disposal of the public lands we are again brought face to face with the frontier. The policy of the [ 26 ] United States in dealing with its lands is in sharp contrast with the European system of scientific administration.

Efforts to make this domain a source of revenue, and to withhold it from emigrants in order that settlement might be compact, were in vain. The jealousy and the fears of the East were powerless in the face of the demands of the frontiersmen. John Quincy Adams was obliged to confess: "My own system of administration, which was to make the national domain the inexhaustible fund for progressive and unceasing internal improvement, has failed.

Benton was the author of this system, which he brought forward as a substitute for the American system of Mr. Clay, and to supplant him as the leading statesman of the West. Clay, by his tariff compromise with Mr. Calhoun, abandoned his own American system. At the same time he brought forward a plan for distributing among all the States of the Union the proceeds of the sales of the public lands.

His bill for that purpose passed both Houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Jackson, who, in his annual message of December, , formally recommended that all public lands should be gratuitously given away to individual adventurers and to the States in which the lands are situated. But this legislation was framed under frontier influences, and under the lead of Western statesmen like Benton and Jackson. It is safe to say that the legislation with regard to land, tariff, and internal improvements—the American system of the nationalizing Whig party—was conditioned on frontier ideas and needs.

But it was not merely in legislative action that the frontier worked against the sectionalism of the coast. The economic and social characteristics of the frontier worked against sectionalism. The men of the frontier had closer resemblances to the Middle region than to either of the other sections. Pennsylvania had been the seed-plot of frontier emigration, and, although she passed on her settlers along the Great Valley into the west of Virginia and the Carolinas, yet the industrial society of these Southern frontiersmen was always more like that of the Middle region than like that of the tide-water portion of the South, which later came to spread its industrial type throughout the South.

The Middle region, entered by New York harbor, was an open door to all Europe. The tide-water part of the South represented typical Englishmen, modified by a warm climate and servile labor, and living in baronial fashion on great plantations; New England stood for a special English movement—Puritanism. The Middle region was less English than the other sections.

It had a wide mixture of nationalities, a varied society, the mixed town and county system of local government, a varied economic life, many religious sects. In short, it was a region mediating between New England and the South, [ 28 ] and the East and the West. It represented that composite nationality which the contemporary United States exhibits, that juxtaposition of non-English groups, occupying a valley or a little settlement, and presenting reflections of the map of Europe in their variety.

It was democratic and nonsectional, if not national; "easy, tolerant, and contented;" rooted strongly in material prosperity. It was typical of the modern United States. It was least sectional, not only because it lay between North and South, but also because with no barriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled region, and with a system of connecting waterways, the Middle region mediated between East and West as well as between North and South.

Thus it became the typically American region. Even the New Englander, who was shut out from the frontier by the Middle region, tarrying in New York or Pennsylvania on his westward march, lost the acuteness of his sectionalism on the way. The spread of cotton culture into the interior of the South finally broke down the contrast between the "tide-water" region and the rest of the State, and based Southern interests on slavery.

Before this process revealed its results the western portion of the South, which was akin to Pennsylvania in stock, society, and industry, showed tendencies to fall away from the faith of the fathers into internal improvement legislation and nationalism. In the Virginia convention of , called to revise the constitution, Mr.

Leigh, of Chesterfield, one of the tide-water counties, declared:. One of the main causes of discontent which led to this convention, that which had the strongest influence in overcoming our veneration for the work of our fathers, which taught us to contemn the sentiments [ 29 ] of Henry and Mason and Pendleton, which weaned us from our reverence for the constituted authorities of the State, was an overweening passion for internal improvement.

I say this with perfect knowledge, for it has been avowed to me by gentlemen from the West over and over again. And let me tell the gentleman from Albemarle Mr. Gordon that it has been another principal object of those who set this ball of revolution in motion, to overturn the doctrine of State rights, of which Virginia has been the very pillar, and to remove the barrier she has interposed to the interference of the Federal Government in that same work of internal improvement, by so reorganizing the legislature that Virginia, too, may be hitched to the Federal car.

It was this nationalizing tendency of the West that transformed the democracy of Jefferson into the national republicanism of Monroe and the democracy of Andrew Jackson. The West of the War of , the West of Clay, and Benton and Harrison, and Andrew Jackson, shut off by the Middle States and the mountains from the coast sections, had a solidarity of its own with national tendencies.

Interstate migration went steadily on—a process of cross-fertilization of ideas and institutions. The fierce struggle of the sections over slavery on the western frontier does not diminish the truth of this statement; it proves the truth of it. Slavery was a sectional trait that would not down, but in the West it could not remain sectional. It was the greatest of frontiersmen who declared: "I believe this Government can not [ 30 ] endure permanently half slave and half free.

It will become all of one thing or all of the other. Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World.

But the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of democracy here and in Europe. As has been indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family.

The tendency is anti-social. It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control. The tax-gatherer is viewed as a representative of oppression. Osgood, in an able article, [] has pointed out that the frontier conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the explanation of the American Revolution, where individual liberty was sometimes confused with absence of all effective government.

The same conditions aid in explaining the difficulty of instituting a strong government in the period of the confederacy. The frontier individualism has from the beginning promoted democracy. The frontier States that came into the Union in the first quarter of a century of its existence came in with democratic suffrage provisions, and had reactive effects of the highest importance upon the older States whose peoples were being attracted there.

An extension of the franchise became essential. It was western New York that forced an extension of suffrage in the constitutional convention of that State in ; and it was western Virginia that compelled the tide-water [ 31 ] region to put a more liberal suffrage provision in the constitution framed in , and to give to the frontier region a more nearly proportionate representation with the tide-water aristocracy. The rise of democracy as an effective force in the nation came in with western preponderance under Jackson and William Henry Harrison, and it meant the triumph of the frontier—with all of its good and with all of its evil elements.

A representative from western Virginia declared:. But, sir, it is not the increase of population in the West which this gentleman ought to fear. It is the energy which the mountain breeze and western habits impart to those emigrants. They are regenerated, politically I mean, sir. They soon become working politicians ; and the difference, sir, between a talking and a working politician is immense. The Old Dominion has long been celebrated for producing great orators; the ablest metaphysicians in policy; men that can split hairs in all abstruse questions of political economy.

But at home, or when they return from Congress, they have negroes to fan them asleep. But a Pennsylvania, a New York, an Ohio, or a western Virginia statesman, though far inferior in logic, metaphysics, and rhetoric to an old Virginia statesman, has this advantage, that when he returns home he takes off his coat and takes hold of the plow. This gives him bone and muscle, sir, and preserves his republican principles pure and uncontaminated. So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power.

But the democracy born of free land, strong in selfishness and individualism, intolerant of administrative experience and education, and pressing individual liberty beyond its proper bounds, has its dangers as well as its benefits. Individualism in America has allowed a laxity in regard to governmental affairs which has rendered possible the spoils system and all the manifest evils that follow from the lack of a highly developed civic spirit.

In this connection may be noted also the influence of frontier conditions in permitting lax business honor, inflated paper currency and wild-cat banking. The colonial and revolutionary frontier was the region whence emanated many of the worst forms of an evil currency. Thus each one of the periods of lax financial integrity coincides with periods when a new set of frontier communities had arisen, and coincides in area with these successive frontiers, for the most part.

The recent Populist agitation is a case in point. Many a State that now declines any connection with the tenets of the Populists, itself adhered to such ideas in an earlier stage of the development of the State. A primitive society can hardly be expected to show the intelligent appreciation of the complexity of business interests in a developed society. The continual recurrence of these areas of paper-money agitation is another evidence that the frontier can be isolated and studied as a factor in American history of the highest importance.

The East has always feared the result of an unregulated advance of the frontier, and has tried to check and guide it. The English authorities would have checked settlement at the headwaters of the Atlantic tributaries and allowed the "savages to enjoy their deserts in quiet lest the peltry trade should decrease. If you stopped your grants, what would be the consequence? The people would occupy without grants. They have already so occupied in many places. You can not station garrisons in every part of these deserts.

If you drive the people from one place, they will carry on their annual tillage and remove with their flocks and herds to another. Many of the people in the back settlements are already little attached to particular situations. Already they have topped the Appalachian Mountains. From thence they behold before them an immense plain, one vast, rich, level meadow; a square of five hundred miles.

Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with their habits of life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible [ 34 ] cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counselers, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them.

Such would, and in no long time must, be the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime and to suppress as an evil the command and blessing of Providence, "Increase and multiply. But the English Government was not alone in its desire to limit the advance of the frontier and guide its destinies. Tidewater Virginia [] and South Carolina [] gerrymandered those colonies to insure the dominance of the coast in their legislatures.

Washington desired to settle a State at a time in the Northwest; Jefferson would reserve from settlement the territory of his Louisiana Purchase north of the thirty-second parallel, in order to offer it to the Indians in exchange for their settlements east of the Mississippi. When the Oregon question was under debate, in , Smyth, of Virginia, would draw an unchangeable line for the limits of the United States at the outer limit of two tiers of States beyond the Mississippi, complaining that the seaboard States were being drained of the flower of their population by the [ 35 ] bringing of too much land into market.

Even Thomas Benton, the man of widest views of the destiny of the West, at this stage of his career declared that along the ridge of the Rocky mountains "the western limits of the Republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus should be raised upon its highest peak, never to be thrown down.

Steadily the frontier of settlement advanced and carried with it individualism, democracy, and nationalism, and powerfully affected the East and the Old World. The most effective efforts of the East to regulate the frontier came through its educational and religious activity, exerted by interstate migration and by organized societies. Speaking in , Dr.

Lyman Beecher declared: "It is equally plain that the religious and political destiny of our nation is to be decided in the West," and he pointed out that the population of the West "is assembled from all the States of the Union and from all the nations of Europe, and is rushing in like the waters of the flood, demanding for its moral preservation the immediate and universal action of those institutions which discipline the mind and arm the conscience and the heart.

And so various are the opinions and habits, and so recent and imperfect is the acquaintance, and so sparse are the settlements of the West, that no homogeneous public sentiment can be formed to legislate immediately into being the requisite institutions. And yet they are all needed immediately in their utmost perfection and power. A nation is being 'born in a day. But what will become of the West if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind and the conscience [ 36 ] and the heart of that vast world.

It must not be permitted. Let no man at the East quiet himself and dream of liberty, whatever may become of the West. Her destiny is our destiny. With the appeal to the conscience of New England, he adds appeals to her fears lest other religious sects anticipate her own. The New England preacher and school-teacher left their mark on the West. The dread of Western emancipation from New England's political and economic control was paralleled by her fears lest the West cut loose from her religion.

Commenting in on reports that settlement was rapidly extending northward in Wisconsin, the editor of the Home Missionary writes: "We scarcely know whether to rejoice or mourn over this extension of our settlements. While we sympathize in whatever tends to increase the physical resources and prosperity of our country, we can not forget that with all these dispersions into remote and still remoter corners of the land the supply of the means of grace is becoming relatively less and less.

As seaboard cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore strove for the mastery of Western trade, so the various denominations strove for the possession of the West. Thus an intellectual stream from New England sources fertilized the West. Other sections sent their missionaries; but the real struggle was between sects.

The contest for power and the expansive tendency furnished to the various sects by the existence of a moving frontier must have had important results on the character of religious organization in the United States. The multiplication of rival churches in the little frontier towns had deep and lasting social effects. The religious aspects of the frontier make a chapter in our history which needs study.

From the conditions of frontier life came intellectual traits of profound importance. The works of travelers along each frontier from colonial days onward describe certain common traits, and these traits have, while softening down, still persisted as survivals in the place of their origin, even when a higher social organization succeeded.

The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends; that restless, nervous energy; [] that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom—these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier.

Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased.

Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise. But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. For a moment, at the [ 38 ] frontier, the bonds of custom are broken and unrestraint is triumphant. There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier.

What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bond of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, that, and more, the ever retreating frontier has been to the United States directly, and to the nations of Europe more remotely. And now, four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American history. It is gratifying to find that Professor Woodrow Wilson—whose volume on 'Division and Reunion' in the Epochs of American History Series, has an appreciative estimate of the importance of the West as a factor in American history—accepts some of the views set forth in the papers above mentioned, and enhances their value by his lucid and suggestive treatment of them in his article in The Forum , December, , reviewing Goldwin Smith's 'History of the United States.

It was printed with additions in the Fifth Year Book of the National Herbart Society , and in various other publications. Auburn, N. Senate, December 16, What an example, to come from the very frontier of civilization! Record, xxiii, p. Records of N. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," chs.

The gambler and desperado, the regulators of the Carolinas and the vigilantes of California, are types of that line of scum that the waves of advancing civilization bore before them, and of the growth of spontaneous organs of authority where legal authority was absent.

It has frequently been asked how such a people could have developed that strained nervous energy now characteristic of them. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," p. The transition appears to become marked at the close of the War of , a period when interest centered upon the development of the West, and the West was noted for restless energy.

Grund, "Americans," ii, ch. In the Significance of the "Frontier in American History," I took for my text the following announcement of the Superintendent of the Census of Up to and including the country had a frontier of settlement but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line. In the discussion of its extent, the westward movement, etc. Two centuries prior to this announcement, in , a committee of the General Court of Massachusetts recommended the Court to order what shall be the frontier and to maintain a committee to settle garrisons on the frontier with forty soldiers to each frontier town as a main guard.

The designation "frontier town" was not, however, a new one. The fifty-seven postures provided in the approved manual of arms for loading and firing the matchlock proved too great a handicap in the chase of the nimble savage.

In this era the frontier fighter adapted himself to a more open order, and lighter equipment suggested by the Indian warrior's practice. The settler on the outskirts of Puritan civilization took up the task of bearing the brunt of attack and pushing forward the line of advance which year after year carried American settlements [ 41 ] into the wilderness. In American thought and speech the term "frontier" has come to mean the edge of settlement, rather than, as in Europe, the political boundary.

By it was already evident that the frontier of settlement and the frontier of military defense were coinciding. As population advanced into the wilderness and thus successively brought new exposed areas between the settlements on the one side and the Indians with their European backers on the other, the military frontier ceased to be thought of as the Atlantic coast, but rather as a moving line bounding the un-won wilderness. It could not be a fortified boundary along the charter limits, for those limits extended to the South Sea, and conflicted with the bounds of sister colonies.

The thing to be defended was the outer edge of this expanding society, a changing frontier, one that needed designation and re-statement with the changing location of the "West. It will help to illustrate the significance of this new frontier when we see that Virginia at about the same time as Massachusetts underwent a similar change and attempted to establish frontier towns, or "co-habitations," at the "heads," that is the first falls, the vicinity of Richmond, Petersburg, etc.

The Virginia system of "particular plantations" introduced along the James at the close of the London Company's activity had furnished a type for the New England town. In recompense, at this later day the New England town may have furnished a model for Virginia's efforts to create frontier settlements by legislation. An act of March 12, , by the General Court of Massachusetts enumerated the "Frontier Towns" which the inhabitants were forbidden to desert on pain of loss of their lands if landholders or of imprisonment if not landholders , unless permission to remove were first obtained.

In the spring of the General Court of Connecticut, following closely the act of Massachusetts, named as her frontier [ 43 ] towns, not to be deserted, Symsbury, Waterbury, Danbury, Colchester, Windham, Mansfield, and Plainfield. Thus about the close of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century there was an officially designated frontier line for New England. The line passing through these enumerated towns represents: 1 the outskirts of settlement along the eastern coast and up the Merrimac and its tributaries,—a region threatened from the Indian country by way of the Winnepesaukee Lake; 2 the end of the ribbon of settlement up the Connecticut Valley, menaced by the Canadian Indians by way of the Lake Champlain and Winooski River route to the Connecticut; 3 boundary towns which marked the edges of that inferior agricultural region, where the hard crystalline rocks furnished a later foundation for Shays' Rebellion, opposition to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and the abandoned farm; and 4 the isolated intervale of Brookfield which lay intermediate between these frontiers.

The common sequence of frontier types fur trader, [ 44 ] cattle-raising pioneer, small primitive farmer, and the farmer engaged in intensive varied agriculture to produce a surplus for export had appeared, though confusedly, in New England. The traders and their posts had prepared the way for the frontier towns, [] and the cattle industry was most important to the early farmers.

After King Philip's War, while Albany was still in the fur-trading stage, the New England frontier towns were rather like mark colonies, military-agricultural outposts against the Indian enemy. The story of the border warfare between Canada and the frontier towns furnishes ample material for studying frontier life and institutions; but I shall not attempt to deal with the narrative of the wars. The palisaded meeting-house square, the fortified isolated garrison houses, the massacres and captivities are familiar features of New England's history.

The Indian was a very real influence upon the mind and morals as well as upon the institutions of frontier New England. The occasional instances of Puritans returning from captivity to visit the frontier towns, Catholic in religion, painted and garbed as Indians and speaking the Indian tongue, [] and the half-breed children of captive Puritan mothers, tell a sensational part of the story; but in the normal, as well as in such exceptional relations of the frontier townsmen to the Indians, [ 45 ] there are clear evidences of the transforming influence of the Indian frontier upon the Puritan type of English colonist.

In , for example, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered five hundred pairs of snowshoes and an equal number of moccasins for use in specified counties "lying Frontier next to the Wilderness. Solomon Stoddard of Northampton in the fall of , urging the use of dogs "to hunt Indians as they do Bears.

Thus we come to familiar ground: the Massachusetts frontiersman like his western successor hated the Indians; the "tawney serpents," of Cotton Mather's phrase, were to be hunted down and scalped in accord with law and, in at least one instance by the chaplain himself, a Harvard graduate, the hero of the Ballad of Pigwacket, who. Within the area bounded by the frontier line, were the broken fragments of Indians defeated in the era of King Philip's War, restrained within reservations, drunken and degenerate survivors, among whom the missionaries worked with small results, a vexation to the border towns, [] as they were in the case of later frontiers.

Although, as has been said, the frontier towns had scattered garrison houses, and palisaded enclosures similar to the neighborhood forts, or stations, of Kentucky in the Revolution, and of Indiana and Illinois in the War of , one difference is particularly noteworthy. In the case of frontiersmen who came down from Pennsylvania into the Upland South along the eastern edge of the Alleghanies, as well as in the more obvious case of the backwoodsmen of Kentucky and Tennessee, the frontier towns were too isolated from the main settled regions to allow much military protection [ 47 ] by the older areas.

On the New England frontier, because it was adjacent to the coast towns, this was not the case, and here, as in seventeenth century Virginia, great activity in protecting the frontier was evinced by the colonial authorities, and the frontier towns themselves called loudly for assistance. This phase of frontier defense needs a special study, but at present it is sufficient to recall that the colony sent garrisons to the frontier besides using the militia of the frontier towns; and that it employed rangers to patrol from garrison to garrison.

These were prototypes of the regular army post, and of rangers, dragoons, cavalry and mounted police who have carried the remoter military frontier forward. It is possible to trace this military cordon from New England to the Carolinas early in the eighteenth century, still neighboring the coast; by it ran from Fort Snelling on the upper Mississippi through various posts to the Sabine boundary of Texas, and so it passed forward until to-day it lies at the edge of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

A few examples of frontier appeals for garrison aid will help to an understanding of the early form of the military frontier. Wells asks, June 30, Dunstable, "still weak and unable both to keep our Garrisons and to send out men to get hay for our Cattle; without doeing which wee cannot subsist," petitioned July 23, , for twenty footmen for a month "to scout about the towne while wee get our hay. The perils of the time, the hardships of the frontier towns and readiness of this particular frontier to ask appropriations for losses and wounds, [] are abundantly illustrated in similar petitions from other towns.

One is tempted at times to attribute the very frank self-pity and dependent attitude to a minister's phrasing, and to the desire to secure remission of taxes, the latter a frontier trait more often associated with riot than with religion in other regions.

As an example of various petitions the following from Groton in is suggestive. Here the minister's hand is probably absent:. Forced together into houses for protection, getting in their crops at the peril of their lives, the frontier townsmen felt it a hardship to contribute also to the taxes of the province [ 51 ] while they helped to protect the exposed frontier.

In addition there were grievances of absentee proprietors who paid no town taxes and yet profited by the exertions of the frontiersmen; of that I shall speak later. If we were to trust to these petitions asking favors from the government of the colony, we might impute to these early frontiersmen a degree of submission to authority unlike that of other frontiersmen, [] and indeed not wholly warranted by the facts.

Reading carefully, we find that, however prudently phrased, the petitions are in fact complaints against taxation; demands for expenditures by the colony in their behalf; criticisms of absentee proprietors; intimations that they may be forced to abandon the frontier position so essential to the defense of the settled eastern country. The spirit of military insubordination characteristic of the frontier is evident in the accounts of these towns, such as Pynchon's in , complaining of the decay of the fortifications at Hatfield, Hadley, and Springfield: "the people a little wilful.

Inclined to doe when and how they please or not at all. I have laboured in vain: some go this, and that, and the other way at pleasure, and do what they list. As in the case of the later frontier also, the existence of a [ 52 ] common danger on the borders of settlement tended to consolidate not only the towns of Massachusetts into united action for defense, but also the various colonies.

The frontier was an incentive to sectional combination then as it was to nationalism afterward. When in Connecticut sent soldiers from her own colony to aid the Massachusetts towns on the Connecticut River, [] she showed a realization that the Deerfield people, who were "in a sense in the enemy's Mouth almost," as Pynchon wrote, constituted her own frontier [] and that the facts of geography were more compelling than arbitrary colonial boundaries.

Thereby she also took a step that helped to break down provincial antagonisms. When in Massachusetts and Connecticut sent agents to Albany to join with New York in making presents to the Indians of that colony in order to engage their aid against the French, [] they recognized as their leaders put it that Albany was "the hinge" of the frontier in this exposed quarter.

In thanking Connecticut for the assistance furnished in Livingston said: "I hope your honors do not look upon Albany as Albany, but as the frontier of your honor's Colony and of all their Majesties countries. The very essence of the American frontier is that it is the graphic line which records the expansive energies of the people behind it, and which by the law of its own being continually draws that advance after it to new conquests.

This is one of the most significant things about New England's frontier in these years. That long blood-stained line of the eastern frontier which skirted the Maine coast was of great [ 53 ] importance, for it imparted a western tone to the life and characteristics of the Maine people which endures to this day, and it was one line of advance for New England toward the mouth of the St. Lawrence, leading again and again to diplomatic negotiations with the powers that held that river.

The line of the towns that occupied the waters of the Merrimac, tempted the province continually into the wilderness of New Hampshire. The Connecticut river towns pressed steadily up that stream, along its tributaries into the Hoosatonic valleys, and into the valleys between the Green Mountains of Vermont. By the end of , the General Court of Massachusetts enacted,—. The "frontier Towns" were preparing to swarm. The Hudson River likewise was recognized as another line of advance pointing the way to Lake Champlain and Montreal, calling out demands that protection should be secured by means of an aggressive advance of the frontier.

Canada [ 54 ] delenda est became the rallying cry in New England as well as in New York, and combined diplomatic pressure and military expeditions followed in the French and Indian wars and in the Revolution, in which the children of the Connecticut and Massachusetts frontier towns, acclimated to Indian fighting, followed Ethan Allen and his fellows to the north.

Having touched upon some of the military and expansive tendencies of this first official frontier, let us next turn to its social, economic, and political aspects. How far was this first frontier a field for the investment of eastern capital and for political control by it? Were there evidences of antagonism between the frontier and the settled, property-holding classes of the coast?

Restless democracy, resentfulness over taxation and control, and recriminations between the Western pioneer and the Eastern capitalist, have been characteristic features of other frontiers: were similar phenomena in evidence here? Did "Populistic" tendencies appear in this frontier, and were there grievances which explained these tendencies? In such colonies as New York and Virginia the land grants were often made to members of the Council and their influential friends, even when there were actual settlers already on the grants.

In the case of New England the land system is usually so described as to give the impression that it was based on a [ 55 ] non-commercial policy, creating new Puritan towns by free grants of land made in advance to approved settlers. This description does not completely fit the case.

That there was an economic interest on the part of absentee proprietors, and that men of political influence with the government were often among the grantees seems also to be true. Melville Egleston states the case thus: "The court was careful not to authorize new plantations unless they were to be in a measure under the influence of men in whom confidence could be placed, and commonly acted upon their application. New towns seem to have been the result in some cases of the aggregation of settlers upon and about a large private grant; more often they resulted from settlers in older towns, where the town limits were extensive, spreading out to the good lands of the outskirts, beyond easy access to the meeting-house, and then asking recognition as a separate town.

In some cases they may have been due to squatting on unassigned lands, or purchasing the Indian title and then asking confirmation. In others grants were made in advance of settlement. As early as the General Court had ordered that none go to new plantations without leave of a majority of the magistrates. In any case there would be a necessity for the settlers finally to secure the assent of the Court.

This could be facilitated by a grant to leading men having political influence with the magistrates. The complaints of absentee proprietors which find expression in the frontier petitions of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century seems to indicate that [ 56 ] this happened. In the succeeding years of the eighteenth century the grants to leading men and the economic and political motives in the grants are increasingly evident.

This whole topic should be made the subject of special study. What is here offered is merely suggestive of a problem. The frontier settlers criticized the absentee proprietors, who profited by the pioneers' expenditure of labor and blood upon their farms, while they themselves enjoyed security in an eastern town.

A few examples from town historians will illustrate this. Among the towns of the Merrimac Valley, Salisbury was planted on the basis of a grant to a dozen proprietors including such men as Mr.

Final, sorry, publication of research papers tell

This is a wrong perspective. The pioneer needed the goods of the coast, and so the grand series of internal improvement and railroad legislation began, with potent nationalizing effects. Over internal improvements occurred great debates, in which [ 25 ] grave constitutional questions were discussed. Sectional groupings appear in the votes, profoundly significant for the historian.

Loose construction increased as the nation marched westward. Under the lead of Clay—"Harry of the West"—protective tariffs were passed, with the cry of bringing the factory to the farm. The disposition of the public lands was a third important subject of national legislation influenced by the frontier. The public domain has been a force of profound importance in the nationalization and development of the government. The effects of the struggle of the landed and the landless States, and of the Ordinance of , need no discussion.

The purchase of Louisiana was perhaps the constitutional turning point in the history of the Republic, inasmuch as it afforded both a new area for national legislation and the occasion of the downfall of the policy of strict construction. But the purchase of Louisiana was called out by frontier needs and demands. As frontier States accrued to the Union the national power grew. In a speech on the dedication of the Calhoun monument Mr.

Lamar explained: "In the States were the creators of the Federal Government; in the Federal Government was the creator of a large majority of the States. When we consider the public domain from the point of view of the sale and disposal of the public lands we are again brought face to face with the frontier. The policy of the [ 26 ] United States in dealing with its lands is in sharp contrast with the European system of scientific administration. Efforts to make this domain a source of revenue, and to withhold it from emigrants in order that settlement might be compact, were in vain.

The jealousy and the fears of the East were powerless in the face of the demands of the frontiersmen. John Quincy Adams was obliged to confess: "My own system of administration, which was to make the national domain the inexhaustible fund for progressive and unceasing internal improvement, has failed. Benton was the author of this system, which he brought forward as a substitute for the American system of Mr.

Clay, and to supplant him as the leading statesman of the West. Clay, by his tariff compromise with Mr. Calhoun, abandoned his own American system. At the same time he brought forward a plan for distributing among all the States of the Union the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. His bill for that purpose passed both Houses of Congress, but was vetoed by President Jackson, who, in his annual message of December, , formally recommended that all public lands should be gratuitously given away to individual adventurers and to the States in which the lands are situated.

But this legislation was framed under frontier influences, and under the lead of Western statesmen like Benton and Jackson. It is safe to say that the legislation with regard to land, tariff, and internal improvements—the American system of the nationalizing Whig party—was conditioned on frontier ideas and needs.

But it was not merely in legislative action that the frontier worked against the sectionalism of the coast. The economic and social characteristics of the frontier worked against sectionalism. The men of the frontier had closer resemblances to the Middle region than to either of the other sections.

Pennsylvania had been the seed-plot of frontier emigration, and, although she passed on her settlers along the Great Valley into the west of Virginia and the Carolinas, yet the industrial society of these Southern frontiersmen was always more like that of the Middle region than like that of the tide-water portion of the South, which later came to spread its industrial type throughout the South.

The Middle region, entered by New York harbor, was an open door to all Europe. The tide-water part of the South represented typical Englishmen, modified by a warm climate and servile labor, and living in baronial fashion on great plantations; New England stood for a special English movement—Puritanism. The Middle region was less English than the other sections.

It had a wide mixture of nationalities, a varied society, the mixed town and county system of local government, a varied economic life, many religious sects. In short, it was a region mediating between New England and the South, [ 28 ] and the East and the West. It represented that composite nationality which the contemporary United States exhibits, that juxtaposition of non-English groups, occupying a valley or a little settlement, and presenting reflections of the map of Europe in their variety.

It was democratic and nonsectional, if not national; "easy, tolerant, and contented;" rooted strongly in material prosperity. It was typical of the modern United States. It was least sectional, not only because it lay between North and South, but also because with no barriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled region, and with a system of connecting waterways, the Middle region mediated between East and West as well as between North and South.

Thus it became the typically American region. Even the New Englander, who was shut out from the frontier by the Middle region, tarrying in New York or Pennsylvania on his westward march, lost the acuteness of his sectionalism on the way.

The spread of cotton culture into the interior of the South finally broke down the contrast between the "tide-water" region and the rest of the State, and based Southern interests on slavery. Before this process revealed its results the western portion of the South, which was akin to Pennsylvania in stock, society, and industry, showed tendencies to fall away from the faith of the fathers into internal improvement legislation and nationalism.

In the Virginia convention of , called to revise the constitution, Mr. Leigh, of Chesterfield, one of the tide-water counties, declared:. One of the main causes of discontent which led to this convention, that which had the strongest influence in overcoming our veneration for the work of our fathers, which taught us to contemn the sentiments [ 29 ] of Henry and Mason and Pendleton, which weaned us from our reverence for the constituted authorities of the State, was an overweening passion for internal improvement.

I say this with perfect knowledge, for it has been avowed to me by gentlemen from the West over and over again. And let me tell the gentleman from Albemarle Mr. Gordon that it has been another principal object of those who set this ball of revolution in motion, to overturn the doctrine of State rights, of which Virginia has been the very pillar, and to remove the barrier she has interposed to the interference of the Federal Government in that same work of internal improvement, by so reorganizing the legislature that Virginia, too, may be hitched to the Federal car.

It was this nationalizing tendency of the West that transformed the democracy of Jefferson into the national republicanism of Monroe and the democracy of Andrew Jackson. The West of the War of , the West of Clay, and Benton and Harrison, and Andrew Jackson, shut off by the Middle States and the mountains from the coast sections, had a solidarity of its own with national tendencies.

Interstate migration went steadily on—a process of cross-fertilization of ideas and institutions. The fierce struggle of the sections over slavery on the western frontier does not diminish the truth of this statement; it proves the truth of it. Slavery was a sectional trait that would not down, but in the West it could not remain sectional. It was the greatest of frontiersmen who declared: "I believe this Government can not [ 30 ] endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all of one thing or all of the other.

Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World. But the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of democracy here and in Europe.

As has been indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family. The tendency is anti-social. It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control.

The tax-gatherer is viewed as a representative of oppression. Osgood, in an able article, [] has pointed out that the frontier conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the explanation of the American Revolution, where individual liberty was sometimes confused with absence of all effective government.

The same conditions aid in explaining the difficulty of instituting a strong government in the period of the confederacy. The frontier individualism has from the beginning promoted democracy. The frontier States that came into the Union in the first quarter of a century of its existence came in with democratic suffrage provisions, and had reactive effects of the highest importance upon the older States whose peoples were being attracted there.

An extension of the franchise became essential. It was western New York that forced an extension of suffrage in the constitutional convention of that State in ; and it was western Virginia that compelled the tide-water [ 31 ] region to put a more liberal suffrage provision in the constitution framed in , and to give to the frontier region a more nearly proportionate representation with the tide-water aristocracy.

The rise of democracy as an effective force in the nation came in with western preponderance under Jackson and William Henry Harrison, and it meant the triumph of the frontier—with all of its good and with all of its evil elements.

A representative from western Virginia declared:. But, sir, it is not the increase of population in the West which this gentleman ought to fear. It is the energy which the mountain breeze and western habits impart to those emigrants. They are regenerated, politically I mean, sir.

They soon become working politicians ; and the difference, sir, between a talking and a working politician is immense. The Old Dominion has long been celebrated for producing great orators; the ablest metaphysicians in policy; men that can split hairs in all abstruse questions of political economy. But at home, or when they return from Congress, they have negroes to fan them asleep.

But a Pennsylvania, a New York, an Ohio, or a western Virginia statesman, though far inferior in logic, metaphysics, and rhetoric to an old Virginia statesman, has this advantage, that when he returns home he takes off his coat and takes hold of the plow.

This gives him bone and muscle, sir, and preserves his republican principles pure and uncontaminated. So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power. But the democracy born of free land, strong in selfishness and individualism, intolerant of administrative experience and education, and pressing individual liberty beyond its proper bounds, has its dangers as well as its benefits. Individualism in America has allowed a laxity in regard to governmental affairs which has rendered possible the spoils system and all the manifest evils that follow from the lack of a highly developed civic spirit.

In this connection may be noted also the influence of frontier conditions in permitting lax business honor, inflated paper currency and wild-cat banking. The colonial and revolutionary frontier was the region whence emanated many of the worst forms of an evil currency. Thus each one of the periods of lax financial integrity coincides with periods when a new set of frontier communities had arisen, and coincides in area with these successive frontiers, for the most part.

The recent Populist agitation is a case in point. Many a State that now declines any connection with the tenets of the Populists, itself adhered to such ideas in an earlier stage of the development of the State. A primitive society can hardly be expected to show the intelligent appreciation of the complexity of business interests in a developed society.

The continual recurrence of these areas of paper-money agitation is another evidence that the frontier can be isolated and studied as a factor in American history of the highest importance. The East has always feared the result of an unregulated advance of the frontier, and has tried to check and guide it. The English authorities would have checked settlement at the headwaters of the Atlantic tributaries and allowed the "savages to enjoy their deserts in quiet lest the peltry trade should decrease.

If you stopped your grants, what would be the consequence? The people would occupy without grants. They have already so occupied in many places. You can not station garrisons in every part of these deserts. If you drive the people from one place, they will carry on their annual tillage and remove with their flocks and herds to another. Many of the people in the back settlements are already little attached to particular situations. Already they have topped the Appalachian Mountains.

From thence they behold before them an immense plain, one vast, rich, level meadow; a square of five hundred miles. Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with their habits of life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible [ 34 ] cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counselers, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them.

Such would, and in no long time must, be the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime and to suppress as an evil the command and blessing of Providence, "Increase and multiply. But the English Government was not alone in its desire to limit the advance of the frontier and guide its destinies. Tidewater Virginia [] and South Carolina [] gerrymandered those colonies to insure the dominance of the coast in their legislatures. Washington desired to settle a State at a time in the Northwest; Jefferson would reserve from settlement the territory of his Louisiana Purchase north of the thirty-second parallel, in order to offer it to the Indians in exchange for their settlements east of the Mississippi.

When the Oregon question was under debate, in , Smyth, of Virginia, would draw an unchangeable line for the limits of the United States at the outer limit of two tiers of States beyond the Mississippi, complaining that the seaboard States were being drained of the flower of their population by the [ 35 ] bringing of too much land into market. Even Thomas Benton, the man of widest views of the destiny of the West, at this stage of his career declared that along the ridge of the Rocky mountains "the western limits of the Republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus should be raised upon its highest peak, never to be thrown down.

Steadily the frontier of settlement advanced and carried with it individualism, democracy, and nationalism, and powerfully affected the East and the Old World. The most effective efforts of the East to regulate the frontier came through its educational and religious activity, exerted by interstate migration and by organized societies. Speaking in , Dr. Lyman Beecher declared: "It is equally plain that the religious and political destiny of our nation is to be decided in the West," and he pointed out that the population of the West "is assembled from all the States of the Union and from all the nations of Europe, and is rushing in like the waters of the flood, demanding for its moral preservation the immediate and universal action of those institutions which discipline the mind and arm the conscience and the heart.

And so various are the opinions and habits, and so recent and imperfect is the acquaintance, and so sparse are the settlements of the West, that no homogeneous public sentiment can be formed to legislate immediately into being the requisite institutions. And yet they are all needed immediately in their utmost perfection and power.

A nation is being 'born in a day. But what will become of the West if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind and the conscience [ 36 ] and the heart of that vast world. It must not be permitted. Let no man at the East quiet himself and dream of liberty, whatever may become of the West.

Her destiny is our destiny. With the appeal to the conscience of New England, he adds appeals to her fears lest other religious sects anticipate her own. The New England preacher and school-teacher left their mark on the West. The dread of Western emancipation from New England's political and economic control was paralleled by her fears lest the West cut loose from her religion. Commenting in on reports that settlement was rapidly extending northward in Wisconsin, the editor of the Home Missionary writes: "We scarcely know whether to rejoice or mourn over this extension of our settlements.

While we sympathize in whatever tends to increase the physical resources and prosperity of our country, we can not forget that with all these dispersions into remote and still remoter corners of the land the supply of the means of grace is becoming relatively less and less. As seaboard cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore strove for the mastery of Western trade, so the various denominations strove for the possession of the West. Thus an intellectual stream from New England sources fertilized the West.

Other sections sent their missionaries; but the real struggle was between sects. The contest for power and the expansive tendency furnished to the various sects by the existence of a moving frontier must have had important results on the character of religious organization in the United States.

The multiplication of rival churches in the little frontier towns had deep and lasting social effects. The religious aspects of the frontier make a chapter in our history which needs study. From the conditions of frontier life came intellectual traits of profound importance. The works of travelers along each frontier from colonial days onward describe certain common traits, and these traits have, while softening down, still persisted as survivals in the place of their origin, even when a higher social organization succeeded.

The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends; that restless, nervous energy; [] that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom—these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier.

Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased.

Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise. But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. For a moment, at the [ 38 ] frontier, the bonds of custom are broken and unrestraint is triumphant. There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier.

What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bond of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, that, and more, the ever retreating frontier has been to the United States directly, and to the nations of Europe more remotely.

And now, four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American history. It is gratifying to find that Professor Woodrow Wilson—whose volume on 'Division and Reunion' in the Epochs of American History Series, has an appreciative estimate of the importance of the West as a factor in American history—accepts some of the views set forth in the papers above mentioned, and enhances their value by his lucid and suggestive treatment of them in his article in The Forum , December, , reviewing Goldwin Smith's 'History of the United States.

It was printed with additions in the Fifth Year Book of the National Herbart Society , and in various other publications. Auburn, N. Senate, December 16, What an example, to come from the very frontier of civilization! Record, xxiii, p. Records of N. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," chs.

The gambler and desperado, the regulators of the Carolinas and the vigilantes of California, are types of that line of scum that the waves of advancing civilization bore before them, and of the growth of spontaneous organs of authority where legal authority was absent. It has frequently been asked how such a people could have developed that strained nervous energy now characteristic of them. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," p. The transition appears to become marked at the close of the War of , a period when interest centered upon the development of the West, and the West was noted for restless energy.

Grund, "Americans," ii, ch. In the Significance of the "Frontier in American History," I took for my text the following announcement of the Superintendent of the Census of Up to and including the country had a frontier of settlement but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line.

In the discussion of its extent, the westward movement, etc. Two centuries prior to this announcement, in , a committee of the General Court of Massachusetts recommended the Court to order what shall be the frontier and to maintain a committee to settle garrisons on the frontier with forty soldiers to each frontier town as a main guard. The designation "frontier town" was not, however, a new one.

The fifty-seven postures provided in the approved manual of arms for loading and firing the matchlock proved too great a handicap in the chase of the nimble savage. In this era the frontier fighter adapted himself to a more open order, and lighter equipment suggested by the Indian warrior's practice. The settler on the outskirts of Puritan civilization took up the task of bearing the brunt of attack and pushing forward the line of advance which year after year carried American settlements [ 41 ] into the wilderness.

In American thought and speech the term "frontier" has come to mean the edge of settlement, rather than, as in Europe, the political boundary. By it was already evident that the frontier of settlement and the frontier of military defense were coinciding. As population advanced into the wilderness and thus successively brought new exposed areas between the settlements on the one side and the Indians with their European backers on the other, the military frontier ceased to be thought of as the Atlantic coast, but rather as a moving line bounding the un-won wilderness.

It could not be a fortified boundary along the charter limits, for those limits extended to the South Sea, and conflicted with the bounds of sister colonies. The thing to be defended was the outer edge of this expanding society, a changing frontier, one that needed designation and re-statement with the changing location of the "West.

It will help to illustrate the significance of this new frontier when we see that Virginia at about the same time as Massachusetts underwent a similar change and attempted to establish frontier towns, or "co-habitations," at the "heads," that is the first falls, the vicinity of Richmond, Petersburg, etc. The Virginia system of "particular plantations" introduced along the James at the close of the London Company's activity had furnished a type for the New England town.

In recompense, at this later day the New England town may have furnished a model for Virginia's efforts to create frontier settlements by legislation. An act of March 12, , by the General Court of Massachusetts enumerated the "Frontier Towns" which the inhabitants were forbidden to desert on pain of loss of their lands if landholders or of imprisonment if not landholders , unless permission to remove were first obtained. In the spring of the General Court of Connecticut, following closely the act of Massachusetts, named as her frontier [ 43 ] towns, not to be deserted, Symsbury, Waterbury, Danbury, Colchester, Windham, Mansfield, and Plainfield.

Thus about the close of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century there was an officially designated frontier line for New England. The line passing through these enumerated towns represents: 1 the outskirts of settlement along the eastern coast and up the Merrimac and its tributaries,—a region threatened from the Indian country by way of the Winnepesaukee Lake; 2 the end of the ribbon of settlement up the Connecticut Valley, menaced by the Canadian Indians by way of the Lake Champlain and Winooski River route to the Connecticut; 3 boundary towns which marked the edges of that inferior agricultural region, where the hard crystalline rocks furnished a later foundation for Shays' Rebellion, opposition to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and the abandoned farm; and 4 the isolated intervale of Brookfield which lay intermediate between these frontiers.

The common sequence of frontier types fur trader, [ 44 ] cattle-raising pioneer, small primitive farmer, and the farmer engaged in intensive varied agriculture to produce a surplus for export had appeared, though confusedly, in New England. The traders and their posts had prepared the way for the frontier towns, [] and the cattle industry was most important to the early farmers. After King Philip's War, while Albany was still in the fur-trading stage, the New England frontier towns were rather like mark colonies, military-agricultural outposts against the Indian enemy.

The story of the border warfare between Canada and the frontier towns furnishes ample material for studying frontier life and institutions; but I shall not attempt to deal with the narrative of the wars. The palisaded meeting-house square, the fortified isolated garrison houses, the massacres and captivities are familiar features of New England's history. The Indian was a very real influence upon the mind and morals as well as upon the institutions of frontier New England.

The occasional instances of Puritans returning from captivity to visit the frontier towns, Catholic in religion, painted and garbed as Indians and speaking the Indian tongue, [] and the half-breed children of captive Puritan mothers, tell a sensational part of the story; but in the normal, as well as in such exceptional relations of the frontier townsmen to the Indians, [ 45 ] there are clear evidences of the transforming influence of the Indian frontier upon the Puritan type of English colonist.

In , for example, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered five hundred pairs of snowshoes and an equal number of moccasins for use in specified counties "lying Frontier next to the Wilderness. Solomon Stoddard of Northampton in the fall of , urging the use of dogs "to hunt Indians as they do Bears. Thus we come to familiar ground: the Massachusetts frontiersman like his western successor hated the Indians; the "tawney serpents," of Cotton Mather's phrase, were to be hunted down and scalped in accord with law and, in at least one instance by the chaplain himself, a Harvard graduate, the hero of the Ballad of Pigwacket, who.

Within the area bounded by the frontier line, were the broken fragments of Indians defeated in the era of King Philip's War, restrained within reservations, drunken and degenerate survivors, among whom the missionaries worked with small results, a vexation to the border towns, [] as they were in the case of later frontiers.

Although, as has been said, the frontier towns had scattered garrison houses, and palisaded enclosures similar to the neighborhood forts, or stations, of Kentucky in the Revolution, and of Indiana and Illinois in the War of , one difference is particularly noteworthy. In the case of frontiersmen who came down from Pennsylvania into the Upland South along the eastern edge of the Alleghanies, as well as in the more obvious case of the backwoodsmen of Kentucky and Tennessee, the frontier towns were too isolated from the main settled regions to allow much military protection [ 47 ] by the older areas.

On the New England frontier, because it was adjacent to the coast towns, this was not the case, and here, as in seventeenth century Virginia, great activity in protecting the frontier was evinced by the colonial authorities, and the frontier towns themselves called loudly for assistance.

This phase of frontier defense needs a special study, but at present it is sufficient to recall that the colony sent garrisons to the frontier besides using the militia of the frontier towns; and that it employed rangers to patrol from garrison to garrison. These were prototypes of the regular army post, and of rangers, dragoons, cavalry and mounted police who have carried the remoter military frontier forward. It is possible to trace this military cordon from New England to the Carolinas early in the eighteenth century, still neighboring the coast; by it ran from Fort Snelling on the upper Mississippi through various posts to the Sabine boundary of Texas, and so it passed forward until to-day it lies at the edge of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

A few examples of frontier appeals for garrison aid will help to an understanding of the early form of the military frontier. Wells asks, June 30, Dunstable, "still weak and unable both to keep our Garrisons and to send out men to get hay for our Cattle; without doeing which wee cannot subsist," petitioned July 23, , for twenty footmen for a month "to scout about the towne while wee get our hay.

The perils of the time, the hardships of the frontier towns and readiness of this particular frontier to ask appropriations for losses and wounds, [] are abundantly illustrated in similar petitions from other towns. One is tempted at times to attribute the very frank self-pity and dependent attitude to a minister's phrasing, and to the desire to secure remission of taxes, the latter a frontier trait more often associated with riot than with religion in other regions.

As an example of various petitions the following from Groton in is suggestive. Here the minister's hand is probably absent:. Forced together into houses for protection, getting in their crops at the peril of their lives, the frontier townsmen felt it a hardship to contribute also to the taxes of the province [ 51 ] while they helped to protect the exposed frontier.

In addition there were grievances of absentee proprietors who paid no town taxes and yet profited by the exertions of the frontiersmen; of that I shall speak later. If we were to trust to these petitions asking favors from the government of the colony, we might impute to these early frontiersmen a degree of submission to authority unlike that of other frontiersmen, [] and indeed not wholly warranted by the facts.

Reading carefully, we find that, however prudently phrased, the petitions are in fact complaints against taxation; demands for expenditures by the colony in their behalf; criticisms of absentee proprietors; intimations that they may be forced to abandon the frontier position so essential to the defense of the settled eastern country. The spirit of military insubordination characteristic of the frontier is evident in the accounts of these towns, such as Pynchon's in , complaining of the decay of the fortifications at Hatfield, Hadley, and Springfield: "the people a little wilful.

Inclined to doe when and how they please or not at all. I have laboured in vain: some go this, and that, and the other way at pleasure, and do what they list. As in the case of the later frontier also, the existence of a [ 52 ] common danger on the borders of settlement tended to consolidate not only the towns of Massachusetts into united action for defense, but also the various colonies.

The frontier was an incentive to sectional combination then as it was to nationalism afterward. When in Connecticut sent soldiers from her own colony to aid the Massachusetts towns on the Connecticut River, [] she showed a realization that the Deerfield people, who were "in a sense in the enemy's Mouth almost," as Pynchon wrote, constituted her own frontier [] and that the facts of geography were more compelling than arbitrary colonial boundaries.

Thereby she also took a step that helped to break down provincial antagonisms. When in Massachusetts and Connecticut sent agents to Albany to join with New York in making presents to the Indians of that colony in order to engage their aid against the French, [] they recognized as their leaders put it that Albany was "the hinge" of the frontier in this exposed quarter.

In thanking Connecticut for the assistance furnished in Livingston said: "I hope your honors do not look upon Albany as Albany, but as the frontier of your honor's Colony and of all their Majesties countries. The very essence of the American frontier is that it is the graphic line which records the expansive energies of the people behind it, and which by the law of its own being continually draws that advance after it to new conquests.

This is one of the most significant things about New England's frontier in these years. That long blood-stained line of the eastern frontier which skirted the Maine coast was of great [ 53 ] importance, for it imparted a western tone to the life and characteristics of the Maine people which endures to this day, and it was one line of advance for New England toward the mouth of the St. Lawrence, leading again and again to diplomatic negotiations with the powers that held that river. The line of the towns that occupied the waters of the Merrimac, tempted the province continually into the wilderness of New Hampshire.

The Connecticut river towns pressed steadily up that stream, along its tributaries into the Hoosatonic valleys, and into the valleys between the Green Mountains of Vermont. By the end of , the General Court of Massachusetts enacted,—. The "frontier Towns" were preparing to swarm. The Hudson River likewise was recognized as another line of advance pointing the way to Lake Champlain and Montreal, calling out demands that protection should be secured by means of an aggressive advance of the frontier.

Canada [ 54 ] delenda est became the rallying cry in New England as well as in New York, and combined diplomatic pressure and military expeditions followed in the French and Indian wars and in the Revolution, in which the children of the Connecticut and Massachusetts frontier towns, acclimated to Indian fighting, followed Ethan Allen and his fellows to the north. Having touched upon some of the military and expansive tendencies of this first official frontier, let us next turn to its social, economic, and political aspects.

How far was this first frontier a field for the investment of eastern capital and for political control by it? Were there evidences of antagonism between the frontier and the settled, property-holding classes of the coast?

Restless democracy, resentfulness over taxation and control, and recriminations between the Western pioneer and the Eastern capitalist, have been characteristic features of other frontiers: were similar phenomena in evidence here?

Did "Populistic" tendencies appear in this frontier, and were there grievances which explained these tendencies? In such colonies as New York and Virginia the land grants were often made to members of the Council and their influential friends, even when there were actual settlers already on the grants. In the case of New England the land system is usually so described as to give the impression that it was based on a [ 55 ] non-commercial policy, creating new Puritan towns by free grants of land made in advance to approved settlers.

This description does not completely fit the case. That there was an economic interest on the part of absentee proprietors, and that men of political influence with the government were often among the grantees seems also to be true. Melville Egleston states the case thus: "The court was careful not to authorize new plantations unless they were to be in a measure under the influence of men in whom confidence could be placed, and commonly acted upon their application.

New towns seem to have been the result in some cases of the aggregation of settlers upon and about a large private grant; more often they resulted from settlers in older towns, where the town limits were extensive, spreading out to the good lands of the outskirts, beyond easy access to the meeting-house, and then asking recognition as a separate town. In some cases they may have been due to squatting on unassigned lands, or purchasing the Indian title and then asking confirmation.

In others grants were made in advance of settlement. As early as the General Court had ordered that none go to new plantations without leave of a majority of the magistrates. In any case there would be a necessity for the settlers finally to secure the assent of the Court. This could be facilitated by a grant to leading men having political influence with the magistrates. The complaints of absentee proprietors which find expression in the frontier petitions of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century seems to indicate that [ 56 ] this happened.

In the succeeding years of the eighteenth century the grants to leading men and the economic and political motives in the grants are increasingly evident. This whole topic should be made the subject of special study. What is here offered is merely suggestive of a problem. The frontier settlers criticized the absentee proprietors, who profited by the pioneers' expenditure of labor and blood upon their farms, while they themselves enjoyed security in an eastern town.

A few examples from town historians will illustrate this. Among the towns of the Merrimac Valley, Salisbury was planted on the basis of a grant to a dozen proprietors including such men as Mr. Bradstreet and the younger Dudley, only two of whom actually lived and died in Salisbury. Haverhill was first seated in , following petitions from Mr. Ward, the Ipswich minister, his son-in-law, Giles Firmin, and others. Firmin's letter to Governor Winthrop, in , complains that Ipswich had given him his ground in that town on condition that he should stay in the town three years or else he could not sell it, "whenas others have no business but range from place to place on purpose to live upon the countrey.

Dunstable's large grant was brought about by a combination of leading men who had received grants after the survey of ; among such grants was one to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company and another to Thomas Brattle of Boston. Apparently it was settled chiefly by others than the [ 57 ] original grantees. Mendon, begun in by Braintree people, is a particularly significant example. Those who are not yet come up to us are a great and far yet abler part of our Proprietors. Deerfield furnishes another type, inasmuch as a considerable part of its land was first held by Dedham, to which the grant was made as a recompense for the location of the Natick Indian reservation.

Dedham shares in the town often fell into the hands of speculators, and Sheldon, the careful historian of Deerfield, declares that not a single Dedham man became a permanent resident of the grant. In Deerfield petitioned the General Court as follows:. O r minister, Mr. Butt as long as the maine of the plantation Lies in men's hands that can't improve it themselves, neither are ever like to [ 59 ] putt such tenants on to it as shall be likely to advance the good of y e place in Civill or sacred Respects; he, ourselves, and all others that think of going to it, are much discouraged.

Woodstock, later a Connecticut town, was settled under a grant in the Nipmuc country made to the town of Roxbury. The settlers, who located their farms near the trading post about which the Indians still collected, were called the "go-ers," while the "stayers" were those who remained in Roxbury, and retained half of the new grant; but it should be added that they paid the go-ers a sum of money to facilitate the settlement.

This absentee proprietorship and the commercial attitude toward the lands of new towns became more evident in succeeding years of the eighteenth century. Leicester, for example, was confirmed by the General Court in These were all men of influence, and none of the proprietors became inhabitants of Leicester. The proprietors tried to induce the fifty families, whose settlement was one of the conditions on which the grant was made, to occupy the eastern half of the township reserving the rest as their absolute property.

The author of a currency tract, in , entitled "Some [ 60 ] Considerations upon the Several Sorts of Banks," remarks that formerly, when land was easy to be obtained, good men came over as indentured servants; but now, he says, they are runaways, thieves, and disorderly persons.

The remedy for this, in his opinion, would be to induce servants to come over by offering them homes when the terms of indenture should expire. It indicates that the current practice in disposing of the lands did not provide for the poorer people. But Massachusetts did not follow this suggestion of a homestead policy. On the contrary, the desire to locate towns to create continuous lines of settlement along the roads between the disconnected frontiers and to protect boundary claims by granting tiers of towns in the disputed tract, as well, no doubt, as pressure from financial interests, led the General Court between and to dispose of the remaining public domain of Massachusetts under conditions that made speculation and colonization by capitalists important factors.

In one respect, however, there was an increasing recognition of the religious and social element in settling the frontier, due in part, no doubt, to a desire to provide for the preservation of eastern ideals and influences in the West. Provisions for reserving lands within the granted townships for the support of an approved minister, and for schools, appear in the seventeenth century and become a common feature of the grants for frontier towns in the eighteenth.

Another ground for discontent over land questions was furnished by the system of granting lands within the town by the commoners. The principle which in many, if not all, cases guided the proprietors in distributing the town lots is familiar and is well stated in the Lancaster town records :. And, whereas Lotts are Now Laid out for the most part Equally to Rich and poore, Partly to keepe the Towne from Scatering to farr, and partly out of Charitie and Respect to men of meaner estate, yet that Equallitie which is the rule of God may be observed, we Covenant and Agree, That in a second Devition and so through all other Devitions of Land the mater shall be drawne as neere to equallitie according to mens estates as wee [ 62 ] are able to doe, That he which hath now more then his estate Deserveth in home Lotts and entervale Lotts shall haue so much Less: and he that hath Less then his estate Deserveth shall haue so much more.

This peculiar doctrine of "equality" had early in the history of the colony created discontents. Winthrop explained the principle which governed himself and his colleagues in the case of the Boston committee of by saying that their divisions were arranged "partly to prevent the neglect of trades. The migration of labor to free lands meant that higher wages must be paid to those who remained.

The use of the town lands by the established classes to promote an approved form of society naturally must have had some effect on migration. But a more effective source of disputes was with respect to the relation of the town proprietors to the public domain of the town in contrast with the non-proprietors as a class.

The need of keeping the town meeting and the proprietors' meeting separate in the old towns in earlier years was not so great as it was when the new-comers became numerous. In an increasing degree these new-comers were either not granted lands at all, or were not admitted to the body of proprietors with rights in the possession of the undivided town lands. Contentions on the part of the town meeting that it had the right of dealing with the town lands occasionally appear, significantly, in the frontier towns of Haverhill, Massachusetts, [ 63 ] Simsbury, Connecticut, and in the towns of the Connecticut Valley.

The first party embraced the great proprietors of land, and the parties concerned about land and other matters. Religious dissensions would combine to make frontier society as it formed early in the eighteenth century more and more democratic, dissatisfied with the existing order, and less respectful of authority.

We shall not understand the relative radicalism of parts of the Berkshires, Vermont and interior New Hampshire without enquiry into the degree in which the control over the lands by a proprietary monopoly affected the men who settled on the frontier. The final aspect of this frontier to be examined, is the attitude of the conservatives of the older sections towards this movement of westward advance.

President Dwight in the era of the War of was very critical of the "foresters," but saw in such a movement a safety valve to the institutions of New England by allowing the escape of the explosive advocates of "Innovation. Cotton Mather is perhaps not a typical representative of the conservative sentiment at the close of the seventeenth century, but his writings may partly reflect the attitude of Boston Bay [ 64 ] toward New England's first Western frontier.

One while the Enclosing of Commons hath made Neighbours, that should have been like Sheep, to Bite and devour one another. They that have done so, heretofore, have to their Cost found, that they were got unto the Wrong side of the Hedge , in their doing so. Think, here Should this be done any more? We read of Balaam, in Num. He was to his Damage, driven to the Wall, when he would needs make an unlawful Salley forth after the Gain of this World. In his essay on "Frontiers Well-Defended" Mather assures the pioneers that they "dwell in a Hatsarmaneth," a place of "tawney serpents," are "inhabitants of the Valley of Achor," and are "the Poor of this World.

Like his successors who solicited missionary contributions for the salvation of the frontier in the Mississippi Valley during the forties of the nineteenth century, this early spokesman for New England laid stress upon teaching anti-popery, particularly in view of the captivity that might await them.

In summing up, we find many of the traits of later frontiers in this early prototype, the Massachusetts frontier. It lies at the edge of the Indian country and tends to advance. It calls out militant qualities and reveals the imprint of wilderness conditions upon the psychology and morals as well as upon the institutions of the people. It demands common defense and thus becomes a factor for consolidation. It is built on the basis of a preliminary fur trade, and is settled by the combined and sometimes antagonistic forces of eastern men of property the absentee proprietors and the democratic pioneers.

The East attempted to regulate and control it. Individualistic and democratic tendencies were emphasized both by the wilderness conditions and, probably, by the prior contentions between the proprietors and non-proprietors of the towns from which settlers moved to the frontier. Removal away from the control of the customary usages of the older communities and from the conservative influence of the body of the clergy, increased the innovating tendency.

Finally the towns were regarded by at least one prominent representative of the established order in the East, as an undesirable place for the re-location of the pillars of society. The temptation to look upon the frontier as a field for investment was viewed by the clergy as a danger to the "institutions of God.

But to this "wrong side of the hedge" New England men continued to migrate. The frontier towns of were hardly more than suburbs of Boston. By the time of the Civil War the frontier towns of New England had occupied the great prairie zone of the Middle West and were even planted in Mormon Utah and in parts of the Pacific Coast.

New England's sons had become the organizers of a Greater New England in the West, captains of industry, political leaders, founders of educational systems, and prophets of religion, in a section that was to influence the ideals and shape the destiny of the nation in ways to which the eyes of men like Cotton Mather were sealed. Reprinted with permission of the Society.

Mathews, "Expansion of New England," p. Publications of this Society, xii, pp. Bruce, "Institutional History of Virginia," ii, p. Channing, "History of the United States," i, pp. A useful contemporaneous map for conditions at the close of King Philip's War is Hubbard's map of New England in his "Narrative" published in Boston, See also L.

Mathews, "Expansion of New England," pp. Turner, "Indian Trade in Wisconsin," p. Egleston, "New England Land System," pp. Publications of this Society, vii, Gookin, "Daniel Gookin," pp. Parkman, "Frontenac" Boston, , p. Metcalf, "Mendon," p. The frontier of Virginia in and showed similar conditions: see, for example, the citations to Washington's Writings in Thwaites, "France in America," pp. The following petition to Governor Gooch of Virginia, dated July 30, , affords a basis for comparison with a Scotch-Irish frontier:.

Calendar of Virginia State Papers, i, p. See F. The demand for remission of taxes is a common feature of the petitions there quoted. Schuyler-Lighthall, "Glorious Enterprise," p. You know they stand all close together, rank and file, and my men fight so as Indians do, and I want your warriours to join with me and my warriours, like brothers, and ambush the Regulars: if you will, I will give you money, blankets, tomahawks, knives, paint, and any thing that there is in the army, just like brothers; and I will go with you into the woods to scout; and my men and your men will sleep together, and eat and drink together, and fight Regulars, because they first killed our brothers" American Archives, 4th Series, ii, p.

Merrill, "Amesbury," pp. Non-Brahminic in frederick jackson turner frontier thesis full text spite of homework help in history, a reconciler schmooze campaigned frederick jackson turner frontier thesis full text under both substructures — Peer reviewed only Full text available on Publication Date: Frederick Jackson Turner, a University of Wisconsin historian, saw great significance in this and in propounded his now-famous "frontier thesis" before the American Historical Association:.

Frederick Jackson Turner advanced the argument in that American democracy was an ideal that was formed because frederick jackson turner frontier thesis full text of the American frontier. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

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It was democratic and nonsectional, if not national; "easy, tolerant, and contented;" rooted strongly in material prosperity. It was typical of the modern United States. It was least sectional, not only because it lay between North and South, but also because with no barriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled region, and with a system of connecting waterways, the Middle region mediated between East and West as well as between North and South. Thus it became the typically American region.

Even the New Englander, who was shut out from the frontier by the Middle region, tarrying in New York or Pennsylvania on his westward march, lost the acuteness of his sectionalism on the way. The spread of cotton culture into the interior of the South finally broke down the contrast between the "tide-water" region and the rest of the State, and based Southern interests on slavery.

Before this process revealed its results the western portion of the South, which was akin to Pennsylvania in stock, society, and industry, showed tendencies to fall away from the faith of the fathers into internal improvement legislation and nationalism. In the Virginia convention of , called to revise the constitution, Mr. Leigh, of Chesterfield, one of the tide-water counties, declared:. One of the main causes of discontent which led to this convention, that which had the strongest influence in overcoming our veneration for the work of our fathers, which taught us to contemn the sentiments [ 29 ] of Henry and Mason and Pendleton, which weaned us from our reverence for the constituted authorities of the State, was an overweening passion for internal improvement.

I say this with perfect knowledge, for it has been avowed to me by gentlemen from the West over and over again. And let me tell the gentleman from Albemarle Mr. Gordon that it has been another principal object of those who set this ball of revolution in motion, to overturn the doctrine of State rights, of which Virginia has been the very pillar, and to remove the barrier she has interposed to the interference of the Federal Government in that same work of internal improvement, by so reorganizing the legislature that Virginia, too, may be hitched to the Federal car.

It was this nationalizing tendency of the West that transformed the democracy of Jefferson into the national republicanism of Monroe and the democracy of Andrew Jackson. The West of the War of , the West of Clay, and Benton and Harrison, and Andrew Jackson, shut off by the Middle States and the mountains from the coast sections, had a solidarity of its own with national tendencies.

Interstate migration went steadily on—a process of cross-fertilization of ideas and institutions. The fierce struggle of the sections over slavery on the western frontier does not diminish the truth of this statement; it proves the truth of it. Slavery was a sectional trait that would not down, but in the West it could not remain sectional.

It was the greatest of frontiersmen who declared: "I believe this Government can not [ 30 ] endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all of one thing or all of the other. Mobility of population is death to localism, and the western frontier worked irresistibly in unsettling population. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World. But the most important effect of the frontier has been in the promotion of democracy here and in Europe.

As has been indicated, the frontier is productive of individualism. Complex society is precipitated by the wilderness into a kind of primitive organization based on the family. The tendency is anti-social. It produces antipathy to control, and particularly to any direct control. The tax-gatherer is viewed as a representative of oppression. Osgood, in an able article, [] has pointed out that the frontier conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the explanation of the American Revolution, where individual liberty was sometimes confused with absence of all effective government.

The same conditions aid in explaining the difficulty of instituting a strong government in the period of the confederacy. The frontier individualism has from the beginning promoted democracy. The frontier States that came into the Union in the first quarter of a century of its existence came in with democratic suffrage provisions, and had reactive effects of the highest importance upon the older States whose peoples were being attracted there.

An extension of the franchise became essential. It was western New York that forced an extension of suffrage in the constitutional convention of that State in ; and it was western Virginia that compelled the tide-water [ 31 ] region to put a more liberal suffrage provision in the constitution framed in , and to give to the frontier region a more nearly proportionate representation with the tide-water aristocracy.

The rise of democracy as an effective force in the nation came in with western preponderance under Jackson and William Henry Harrison, and it meant the triumph of the frontier—with all of its good and with all of its evil elements. A representative from western Virginia declared:. But, sir, it is not the increase of population in the West which this gentleman ought to fear.

It is the energy which the mountain breeze and western habits impart to those emigrants. They are regenerated, politically I mean, sir. They soon become working politicians ; and the difference, sir, between a talking and a working politician is immense. The Old Dominion has long been celebrated for producing great orators; the ablest metaphysicians in policy; men that can split hairs in all abstruse questions of political economy.

But at home, or when they return from Congress, they have negroes to fan them asleep. But a Pennsylvania, a New York, an Ohio, or a western Virginia statesman, though far inferior in logic, metaphysics, and rhetoric to an old Virginia statesman, has this advantage, that when he returns home he takes off his coat and takes hold of the plow.

This gives him bone and muscle, sir, and preserves his republican principles pure and uncontaminated. So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power. But the democracy born of free land, strong in selfishness and individualism, intolerant of administrative experience and education, and pressing individual liberty beyond its proper bounds, has its dangers as well as its benefits.

Individualism in America has allowed a laxity in regard to governmental affairs which has rendered possible the spoils system and all the manifest evils that follow from the lack of a highly developed civic spirit. In this connection may be noted also the influence of frontier conditions in permitting lax business honor, inflated paper currency and wild-cat banking. The colonial and revolutionary frontier was the region whence emanated many of the worst forms of an evil currency.

Thus each one of the periods of lax financial integrity coincides with periods when a new set of frontier communities had arisen, and coincides in area with these successive frontiers, for the most part. The recent Populist agitation is a case in point. Many a State that now declines any connection with the tenets of the Populists, itself adhered to such ideas in an earlier stage of the development of the State.

A primitive society can hardly be expected to show the intelligent appreciation of the complexity of business interests in a developed society. The continual recurrence of these areas of paper-money agitation is another evidence that the frontier can be isolated and studied as a factor in American history of the highest importance.

The East has always feared the result of an unregulated advance of the frontier, and has tried to check and guide it. The English authorities would have checked settlement at the headwaters of the Atlantic tributaries and allowed the "savages to enjoy their deserts in quiet lest the peltry trade should decrease.

If you stopped your grants, what would be the consequence? The people would occupy without grants. They have already so occupied in many places. You can not station garrisons in every part of these deserts. If you drive the people from one place, they will carry on their annual tillage and remove with their flocks and herds to another.

Many of the people in the back settlements are already little attached to particular situations. Already they have topped the Appalachian Mountains. From thence they behold before them an immense plain, one vast, rich, level meadow; a square of five hundred miles. Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with their habits of life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible [ 34 ] cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counselers, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them.

Such would, and in no long time must, be the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime and to suppress as an evil the command and blessing of Providence, "Increase and multiply. But the English Government was not alone in its desire to limit the advance of the frontier and guide its destinies.

Tidewater Virginia [] and South Carolina [] gerrymandered those colonies to insure the dominance of the coast in their legislatures. Washington desired to settle a State at a time in the Northwest; Jefferson would reserve from settlement the territory of his Louisiana Purchase north of the thirty-second parallel, in order to offer it to the Indians in exchange for their settlements east of the Mississippi. When the Oregon question was under debate, in , Smyth, of Virginia, would draw an unchangeable line for the limits of the United States at the outer limit of two tiers of States beyond the Mississippi, complaining that the seaboard States were being drained of the flower of their population by the [ 35 ] bringing of too much land into market.

Even Thomas Benton, the man of widest views of the destiny of the West, at this stage of his career declared that along the ridge of the Rocky mountains "the western limits of the Republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus should be raised upon its highest peak, never to be thrown down.

Steadily the frontier of settlement advanced and carried with it individualism, democracy, and nationalism, and powerfully affected the East and the Old World. The most effective efforts of the East to regulate the frontier came through its educational and religious activity, exerted by interstate migration and by organized societies.

Speaking in , Dr. Lyman Beecher declared: "It is equally plain that the religious and political destiny of our nation is to be decided in the West," and he pointed out that the population of the West "is assembled from all the States of the Union and from all the nations of Europe, and is rushing in like the waters of the flood, demanding for its moral preservation the immediate and universal action of those institutions which discipline the mind and arm the conscience and the heart.

And so various are the opinions and habits, and so recent and imperfect is the acquaintance, and so sparse are the settlements of the West, that no homogeneous public sentiment can be formed to legislate immediately into being the requisite institutions. And yet they are all needed immediately in their utmost perfection and power. A nation is being 'born in a day. But what will become of the West if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty of power, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind and the conscience [ 36 ] and the heart of that vast world.

It must not be permitted. Let no man at the East quiet himself and dream of liberty, whatever may become of the West. Her destiny is our destiny. With the appeal to the conscience of New England, he adds appeals to her fears lest other religious sects anticipate her own. The New England preacher and school-teacher left their mark on the West.

The dread of Western emancipation from New England's political and economic control was paralleled by her fears lest the West cut loose from her religion. Commenting in on reports that settlement was rapidly extending northward in Wisconsin, the editor of the Home Missionary writes: "We scarcely know whether to rejoice or mourn over this extension of our settlements. While we sympathize in whatever tends to increase the physical resources and prosperity of our country, we can not forget that with all these dispersions into remote and still remoter corners of the land the supply of the means of grace is becoming relatively less and less.

As seaboard cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore strove for the mastery of Western trade, so the various denominations strove for the possession of the West. Thus an intellectual stream from New England sources fertilized the West. Other sections sent their missionaries; but the real struggle was between sects. The contest for power and the expansive tendency furnished to the various sects by the existence of a moving frontier must have had important results on the character of religious organization in the United States.

The multiplication of rival churches in the little frontier towns had deep and lasting social effects. The religious aspects of the frontier make a chapter in our history which needs study. From the conditions of frontier life came intellectual traits of profound importance. The works of travelers along each frontier from colonial days onward describe certain common traits, and these traits have, while softening down, still persisted as survivals in the place of their origin, even when a higher social organization succeeded.

The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends; that restless, nervous energy; [] that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom—these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier.

Since the days when the fleet of Columbus sailed into the waters of the New World, America has been another name for opportunity, and the people of the United States have taken their tone from the incessant expansion which has not only been open but has even been forced upon them.

He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased. Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise.

But never again will such gifts of free land offer themselves. For a moment, at the [ 38 ] frontier, the bonds of custom are broken and unrestraint is triumphant. There is not tabula rasa. The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier.

What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bond of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, that, and more, the ever retreating frontier has been to the United States directly, and to the nations of Europe more remotely. And now, four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years of life under the Constitution, the frontier has gone, and with its going has closed the first period of American history.

It is gratifying to find that Professor Woodrow Wilson—whose volume on 'Division and Reunion' in the Epochs of American History Series, has an appreciative estimate of the importance of the West as a factor in American history—accepts some of the views set forth in the papers above mentioned, and enhances their value by his lucid and suggestive treatment of them in his article in The Forum , December, , reviewing Goldwin Smith's 'History of the United States.

It was printed with additions in the Fifth Year Book of the National Herbart Society , and in various other publications. Auburn, N. Senate, December 16, What an example, to come from the very frontier of civilization! Record, xxiii, p. Records of N. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," chs. The gambler and desperado, the regulators of the Carolinas and the vigilantes of California, are types of that line of scum that the waves of advancing civilization bore before them, and of the growth of spontaneous organs of authority where legal authority was absent.

It has frequently been asked how such a people could have developed that strained nervous energy now characteristic of them. Compare Sumner, "Alexander Hamilton," p. The transition appears to become marked at the close of the War of , a period when interest centered upon the development of the West, and the West was noted for restless energy.

Grund, "Americans," ii, ch. In the Significance of the "Frontier in American History," I took for my text the following announcement of the Superintendent of the Census of Up to and including the country had a frontier of settlement but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line.

In the discussion of its extent, the westward movement, etc. Two centuries prior to this announcement, in , a committee of the General Court of Massachusetts recommended the Court to order what shall be the frontier and to maintain a committee to settle garrisons on the frontier with forty soldiers to each frontier town as a main guard.

The designation "frontier town" was not, however, a new one. The fifty-seven postures provided in the approved manual of arms for loading and firing the matchlock proved too great a handicap in the chase of the nimble savage. In this era the frontier fighter adapted himself to a more open order, and lighter equipment suggested by the Indian warrior's practice. The settler on the outskirts of Puritan civilization took up the task of bearing the brunt of attack and pushing forward the line of advance which year after year carried American settlements [ 41 ] into the wilderness.

In American thought and speech the term "frontier" has come to mean the edge of settlement, rather than, as in Europe, the political boundary. By it was already evident that the frontier of settlement and the frontier of military defense were coinciding. As population advanced into the wilderness and thus successively brought new exposed areas between the settlements on the one side and the Indians with their European backers on the other, the military frontier ceased to be thought of as the Atlantic coast, but rather as a moving line bounding the un-won wilderness.

It could not be a fortified boundary along the charter limits, for those limits extended to the South Sea, and conflicted with the bounds of sister colonies. The thing to be defended was the outer edge of this expanding society, a changing frontier, one that needed designation and re-statement with the changing location of the "West. It will help to illustrate the significance of this new frontier when we see that Virginia at about the same time as Massachusetts underwent a similar change and attempted to establish frontier towns, or "co-habitations," at the "heads," that is the first falls, the vicinity of Richmond, Petersburg, etc.

The Virginia system of "particular plantations" introduced along the James at the close of the London Company's activity had furnished a type for the New England town. In recompense, at this later day the New England town may have furnished a model for Virginia's efforts to create frontier settlements by legislation. An act of March 12, , by the General Court of Massachusetts enumerated the "Frontier Towns" which the inhabitants were forbidden to desert on pain of loss of their lands if landholders or of imprisonment if not landholders , unless permission to remove were first obtained.

In the spring of the General Court of Connecticut, following closely the act of Massachusetts, named as her frontier [ 43 ] towns, not to be deserted, Symsbury, Waterbury, Danbury, Colchester, Windham, Mansfield, and Plainfield. Thus about the close of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century there was an officially designated frontier line for New England.

The line passing through these enumerated towns represents: 1 the outskirts of settlement along the eastern coast and up the Merrimac and its tributaries,—a region threatened from the Indian country by way of the Winnepesaukee Lake; 2 the end of the ribbon of settlement up the Connecticut Valley, menaced by the Canadian Indians by way of the Lake Champlain and Winooski River route to the Connecticut; 3 boundary towns which marked the edges of that inferior agricultural region, where the hard crystalline rocks furnished a later foundation for Shays' Rebellion, opposition to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and the abandoned farm; and 4 the isolated intervale of Brookfield which lay intermediate between these frontiers.

The common sequence of frontier types fur trader, [ 44 ] cattle-raising pioneer, small primitive farmer, and the farmer engaged in intensive varied agriculture to produce a surplus for export had appeared, though confusedly, in New England. The traders and their posts had prepared the way for the frontier towns, [] and the cattle industry was most important to the early farmers. After King Philip's War, while Albany was still in the fur-trading stage, the New England frontier towns were rather like mark colonies, military-agricultural outposts against the Indian enemy.

The story of the border warfare between Canada and the frontier towns furnishes ample material for studying frontier life and institutions; but I shall not attempt to deal with the narrative of the wars. The palisaded meeting-house square, the fortified isolated garrison houses, the massacres and captivities are familiar features of New England's history.

The Indian was a very real influence upon the mind and morals as well as upon the institutions of frontier New England. The occasional instances of Puritans returning from captivity to visit the frontier towns, Catholic in religion, painted and garbed as Indians and speaking the Indian tongue, [] and the half-breed children of captive Puritan mothers, tell a sensational part of the story; but in the normal, as well as in such exceptional relations of the frontier townsmen to the Indians, [ 45 ] there are clear evidences of the transforming influence of the Indian frontier upon the Puritan type of English colonist.

In , for example, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered five hundred pairs of snowshoes and an equal number of moccasins for use in specified counties "lying Frontier next to the Wilderness. Solomon Stoddard of Northampton in the fall of , urging the use of dogs "to hunt Indians as they do Bears. Thus we come to familiar ground: the Massachusetts frontiersman like his western successor hated the Indians; the "tawney serpents," of Cotton Mather's phrase, were to be hunted down and scalped in accord with law and, in at least one instance by the chaplain himself, a Harvard graduate, the hero of the Ballad of Pigwacket, who.

Within the area bounded by the frontier line, were the broken fragments of Indians defeated in the era of King Philip's War, restrained within reservations, drunken and degenerate survivors, among whom the missionaries worked with small results, a vexation to the border towns, [] as they were in the case of later frontiers. Although, as has been said, the frontier towns had scattered garrison houses, and palisaded enclosures similar to the neighborhood forts, or stations, of Kentucky in the Revolution, and of Indiana and Illinois in the War of , one difference is particularly noteworthy.

In the case of frontiersmen who came down from Pennsylvania into the Upland South along the eastern edge of the Alleghanies, as well as in the more obvious case of the backwoodsmen of Kentucky and Tennessee, the frontier towns were too isolated from the main settled regions to allow much military protection [ 47 ] by the older areas. On the New England frontier, because it was adjacent to the coast towns, this was not the case, and here, as in seventeenth century Virginia, great activity in protecting the frontier was evinced by the colonial authorities, and the frontier towns themselves called loudly for assistance.

This phase of frontier defense needs a special study, but at present it is sufficient to recall that the colony sent garrisons to the frontier besides using the militia of the frontier towns; and that it employed rangers to patrol from garrison to garrison. These were prototypes of the regular army post, and of rangers, dragoons, cavalry and mounted police who have carried the remoter military frontier forward. It is possible to trace this military cordon from New England to the Carolinas early in the eighteenth century, still neighboring the coast; by it ran from Fort Snelling on the upper Mississippi through various posts to the Sabine boundary of Texas, and so it passed forward until to-day it lies at the edge of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.

A few examples of frontier appeals for garrison aid will help to an understanding of the early form of the military frontier. Wells asks, June 30, Dunstable, "still weak and unable both to keep our Garrisons and to send out men to get hay for our Cattle; without doeing which wee cannot subsist," petitioned July 23, , for twenty footmen for a month "to scout about the towne while wee get our hay. The perils of the time, the hardships of the frontier towns and readiness of this particular frontier to ask appropriations for losses and wounds, [] are abundantly illustrated in similar petitions from other towns.

One is tempted at times to attribute the very frank self-pity and dependent attitude to a minister's phrasing, and to the desire to secure remission of taxes, the latter a frontier trait more often associated with riot than with religion in other regions. As an example of various petitions the following from Groton in is suggestive. Here the minister's hand is probably absent:. Forced together into houses for protection, getting in their crops at the peril of their lives, the frontier townsmen felt it a hardship to contribute also to the taxes of the province [ 51 ] while they helped to protect the exposed frontier.

In addition there were grievances of absentee proprietors who paid no town taxes and yet profited by the exertions of the frontiersmen; of that I shall speak later. If we were to trust to these petitions asking favors from the government of the colony, we might impute to these early frontiersmen a degree of submission to authority unlike that of other frontiersmen, [] and indeed not wholly warranted by the facts.

Reading carefully, we find that, however prudently phrased, the petitions are in fact complaints against taxation; demands for expenditures by the colony in their behalf; criticisms of absentee proprietors; intimations that they may be forced to abandon the frontier position so essential to the defense of the settled eastern country. The spirit of military insubordination characteristic of the frontier is evident in the accounts of these towns, such as Pynchon's in , complaining of the decay of the fortifications at Hatfield, Hadley, and Springfield: "the people a little wilful.

Inclined to doe when and how they please or not at all. I have laboured in vain: some go this, and that, and the other way at pleasure, and do what they list. As in the case of the later frontier also, the existence of a [ 52 ] common danger on the borders of settlement tended to consolidate not only the towns of Massachusetts into united action for defense, but also the various colonies. The frontier was an incentive to sectional combination then as it was to nationalism afterward.

When in Connecticut sent soldiers from her own colony to aid the Massachusetts towns on the Connecticut River, [] she showed a realization that the Deerfield people, who were "in a sense in the enemy's Mouth almost," as Pynchon wrote, constituted her own frontier [] and that the facts of geography were more compelling than arbitrary colonial boundaries. Thereby she also took a step that helped to break down provincial antagonisms.

When in Massachusetts and Connecticut sent agents to Albany to join with New York in making presents to the Indians of that colony in order to engage their aid against the French, [] they recognized as their leaders put it that Albany was "the hinge" of the frontier in this exposed quarter.

In thanking Connecticut for the assistance furnished in Livingston said: "I hope your honors do not look upon Albany as Albany, but as the frontier of your honor's Colony and of all their Majesties countries. The very essence of the American frontier is that it is the graphic line which records the expansive energies of the people behind it, and which by the law of its own being continually draws that advance after it to new conquests. This is one of the most significant things about New England's frontier in these years.

That long blood-stained line of the eastern frontier which skirted the Maine coast was of great [ 53 ] importance, for it imparted a western tone to the life and characteristics of the Maine people which endures to this day, and it was one line of advance for New England toward the mouth of the St.

Lawrence, leading again and again to diplomatic negotiations with the powers that held that river. The line of the towns that occupied the waters of the Merrimac, tempted the province continually into the wilderness of New Hampshire. The Connecticut river towns pressed steadily up that stream, along its tributaries into the Hoosatonic valleys, and into the valleys between the Green Mountains of Vermont.

By the end of , the General Court of Massachusetts enacted,—. The "frontier Towns" were preparing to swarm. The Hudson River likewise was recognized as another line of advance pointing the way to Lake Champlain and Montreal, calling out demands that protection should be secured by means of an aggressive advance of the frontier. Canada [ 54 ] delenda est became the rallying cry in New England as well as in New York, and combined diplomatic pressure and military expeditions followed in the French and Indian wars and in the Revolution, in which the children of the Connecticut and Massachusetts frontier towns, acclimated to Indian fighting, followed Ethan Allen and his fellows to the north.

Having touched upon some of the military and expansive tendencies of this first official frontier, let us next turn to its social, economic, and political aspects. How far was this first frontier a field for the investment of eastern capital and for political control by it? Were there evidences of antagonism between the frontier and the settled, property-holding classes of the coast? Restless democracy, resentfulness over taxation and control, and recriminations between the Western pioneer and the Eastern capitalist, have been characteristic features of other frontiers: were similar phenomena in evidence here?

Did "Populistic" tendencies appear in this frontier, and were there grievances which explained these tendencies? In such colonies as New York and Virginia the land grants were often made to members of the Council and their influential friends, even when there were actual settlers already on the grants.

In the case of New England the land system is usually so described as to give the impression that it was based on a [ 55 ] non-commercial policy, creating new Puritan towns by free grants of land made in advance to approved settlers. This description does not completely fit the case.

That there was an economic interest on the part of absentee proprietors, and that men of political influence with the government were often among the grantees seems also to be true. Melville Egleston states the case thus: "The court was careful not to authorize new plantations unless they were to be in a measure under the influence of men in whom confidence could be placed, and commonly acted upon their application.

New towns seem to have been the result in some cases of the aggregation of settlers upon and about a large private grant; more often they resulted from settlers in older towns, where the town limits were extensive, spreading out to the good lands of the outskirts, beyond easy access to the meeting-house, and then asking recognition as a separate town. In some cases they may have been due to squatting on unassigned lands, or purchasing the Indian title and then asking confirmation.

In others grants were made in advance of settlement. As early as the General Court had ordered that none go to new plantations without leave of a majority of the magistrates. In any case there would be a necessity for the settlers finally to secure the assent of the Court. This could be facilitated by a grant to leading men having political influence with the magistrates.

The complaints of absentee proprietors which find expression in the frontier petitions of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century seems to indicate that [ 56 ] this happened. In the succeeding years of the eighteenth century the grants to leading men and the economic and political motives in the grants are increasingly evident. This whole topic should be made the subject of special study. What is here offered is merely suggestive of a problem. The frontier settlers criticized the absentee proprietors, who profited by the pioneers' expenditure of labor and blood upon their farms, while they themselves enjoyed security in an eastern town.

A few examples from town historians will illustrate this. Among the towns of the Merrimac Valley, Salisbury was planted on the basis of a grant to a dozen proprietors including such men as Mr. Bradstreet and the younger Dudley, only two of whom actually lived and died in Salisbury. Haverhill was first seated in , following petitions from Mr. Ward, the Ipswich minister, his son-in-law, Giles Firmin, and others.

Firmin's letter to Governor Winthrop, in , complains that Ipswich had given him his ground in that town on condition that he should stay in the town three years or else he could not sell it, "whenas others have no business but range from place to place on purpose to live upon the countrey.

Dunstable's large grant was brought about by a combination of leading men who had received grants after the survey of ; among such grants was one to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company and another to Thomas Brattle of Boston. Apparently it was settled chiefly by others than the [ 57 ] original grantees. Mendon, begun in by Braintree people, is a particularly significant example. Those who are not yet come up to us are a great and far yet abler part of our Proprietors.

Deerfield furnishes another type, inasmuch as a considerable part of its land was first held by Dedham, to which the grant was made as a recompense for the location of the Natick Indian reservation. Dedham shares in the town often fell into the hands of speculators, and Sheldon, the careful historian of Deerfield, declares that not a single Dedham man became a permanent resident of the grant. In Deerfield petitioned the General Court as follows:.

O r minister, Mr. Butt as long as the maine of the plantation Lies in men's hands that can't improve it themselves, neither are ever like to [ 59 ] putt such tenants on to it as shall be likely to advance the good of y e place in Civill or sacred Respects; he, ourselves, and all others that think of going to it, are much discouraged. Woodstock, later a Connecticut town, was settled under a grant in the Nipmuc country made to the town of Roxbury.

The settlers, who located their farms near the trading post about which the Indians still collected, were called the "go-ers," while the "stayers" were those who remained in Roxbury, and retained half of the new grant; but it should be added that they paid the go-ers a sum of money to facilitate the settlement. This absentee proprietorship and the commercial attitude toward the lands of new towns became more evident in succeeding years of the eighteenth century.

Leicester, for example, was confirmed by the General Court in These were all men of influence, and none of the proprietors became inhabitants of Leicester. The proprietors tried to induce the fifty families, whose settlement was one of the conditions on which the grant was made, to occupy the eastern half of the township reserving the rest as their absolute property. The author of a currency tract, in , entitled "Some [ 60 ] Considerations upon the Several Sorts of Banks," remarks that formerly, when land was easy to be obtained, good men came over as indentured servants; but now, he says, they are runaways, thieves, and disorderly persons.

The remedy for this, in his opinion, would be to induce servants to come over by offering them homes when the terms of indenture should expire. It indicates that the current practice in disposing of the lands did not provide for the poorer people. But Massachusetts did not follow this suggestion of a homestead policy. On the contrary, the desire to locate towns to create continuous lines of settlement along the roads between the disconnected frontiers and to protect boundary claims by granting tiers of towns in the disputed tract, as well, no doubt, as pressure from financial interests, led the General Court between and to dispose of the remaining public domain of Massachusetts under conditions that made speculation and colonization by capitalists important factors.

In one respect, however, there was an increasing recognition of the religious and social element in settling the frontier, due in part, no doubt, to a desire to provide for the preservation of eastern ideals and influences in the West. Provisions for reserving lands within the granted townships for the support of an approved minister, and for schools, appear in the seventeenth century and become a common feature of the grants for frontier towns in the eighteenth. Another ground for discontent over land questions was furnished by the system of granting lands within the town by the commoners.

The principle which in many, if not all, cases guided the proprietors in distributing the town lots is familiar and is well stated in the Lancaster town records :. And, whereas Lotts are Now Laid out for the most part Equally to Rich and poore, Partly to keepe the Towne from Scatering to farr, and partly out of Charitie and Respect to men of meaner estate, yet that Equallitie which is the rule of God may be observed, we Covenant and Agree, That in a second Devition and so through all other Devitions of Land the mater shall be drawne as neere to equallitie according to mens estates as wee [ 62 ] are able to doe, That he which hath now more then his estate Deserveth in home Lotts and entervale Lotts shall haue so much Less: and he that hath Less then his estate Deserveth shall haue so much more.

This peculiar doctrine of "equality" had early in the history of the colony created discontents. Winthrop explained the principle which governed himself and his colleagues in the case of the Boston committee of by saying that their divisions were arranged "partly to prevent the neglect of trades.

The migration of labor to free lands meant that higher wages must be paid to those who remained. The use of the town lands by the established classes to promote an approved form of society naturally must have had some effect on migration. But a more effective source of disputes was with respect to the relation of the town proprietors to the public domain of the town in contrast with the non-proprietors as a class.

The need of keeping the town meeting and the proprietors' meeting separate in the old towns in earlier years was not so great as it was when the new-comers became numerous. In an increasing degree these new-comers were either not granted lands at all, or were not admitted to the body of proprietors with rights in the possession of the undivided town lands. Contentions on the part of the town meeting that it had the right of dealing with the town lands occasionally appear, significantly, in the frontier towns of Haverhill, Massachusetts, [ 63 ] Simsbury, Connecticut, and in the towns of the Connecticut Valley.

The first party embraced the great proprietors of land, and the parties concerned about land and other matters. Religious dissensions would combine to make frontier society as it formed early in the eighteenth century more and more democratic, dissatisfied with the existing order, and less respectful of authority. We shall not understand the relative radicalism of parts of the Berkshires, Vermont and interior New Hampshire without enquiry into the degree in which the control over the lands by a proprietary monopoly affected the men who settled on the frontier.

The final aspect of this frontier to be examined, is the attitude of the conservatives of the older sections towards this movement of westward advance. President Dwight in the era of the War of was very critical of the "foresters," but saw in such a movement a safety valve to the institutions of New England by allowing the escape of the explosive advocates of "Innovation. Cotton Mather is perhaps not a typical representative of the conservative sentiment at the close of the seventeenth century, but his writings may partly reflect the attitude of Boston Bay [ 64 ] toward New England's first Western frontier.

One while the Enclosing of Commons hath made Neighbours, that should have been like Sheep, to Bite and devour one another. They that have done so, heretofore, have to their Cost found, that they were got unto the Wrong side of the Hedge , in their doing so.

Think, here Should this be done any more? We read of Balaam, in Num. He was to his Damage, driven to the Wall, when he would needs make an unlawful Salley forth after the Gain of this World. In his essay on "Frontiers Well-Defended" Mather assures the pioneers that they "dwell in a Hatsarmaneth," a place of "tawney serpents," are "inhabitants of the Valley of Achor," and are "the Poor of this World.

Like his successors who solicited missionary contributions for the salvation of the frontier in the Mississippi Valley during the forties of the nineteenth century, this early spokesman for New England laid stress upon teaching anti-popery, particularly in view of the captivity that might await them. In summing up, we find many of the traits of later frontiers in this early prototype, the Massachusetts frontier.

It lies at the edge of the Indian country and tends to advance. It calls out militant qualities and reveals the imprint of wilderness conditions upon the psychology and morals as well as upon the institutions of the people. It demands common defense and thus becomes a factor for consolidation. It is built on the basis of a preliminary fur trade, and is settled by the combined and sometimes antagonistic forces of eastern men of property the absentee proprietors and the democratic pioneers.

The East attempted to regulate and control it. Individualistic and democratic tendencies were emphasized both by the wilderness conditions and, probably, by the prior contentions between the proprietors and non-proprietors of the towns from which settlers moved to the frontier. Removal away from the control of the customary usages of the older communities and from the conservative influence of the body of the clergy, increased the innovating tendency.

Finally the towns were regarded by at least one prominent representative of the established order in the East, as an undesirable place for the re-location of the pillars of society. The temptation to look upon the frontier as a field for investment was viewed by the clergy as a danger to the "institutions of God. But to this "wrong side of the hedge" New England men continued to migrate.

The frontier towns of were hardly more than suburbs of Boston. By the time of the Civil War the frontier towns of New England had occupied the great prairie zone of the Middle West and were even planted in Mormon Utah and in parts of the Pacific Coast. New England's sons had become the organizers of a Greater New England in the West, captains of industry, political leaders, founders of educational systems, and prophets of religion, in a section that was to influence the ideals and shape the destiny of the nation in ways to which the eyes of men like Cotton Mather were sealed.

Reprinted with permission of the Society. Mathews, "Expansion of New England," p. Publications of this Society, xii, pp. Bruce, "Institutional History of Virginia," ii, p. Channing, "History of the United States," i, pp. A useful contemporaneous map for conditions at the close of King Philip's War is Hubbard's map of New England in his "Narrative" published in Boston, See also L.

Mathews, "Expansion of New England," pp. Turner, "Indian Trade in Wisconsin," p. Egleston, "New England Land System," pp. Publications of this Society, vii, Gookin, "Daniel Gookin," pp. Parkman, "Frontenac" Boston, , p. Metcalf, "Mendon," p. The frontier of Virginia in and showed similar conditions: see, for example, the citations to Washington's Writings in Thwaites, "France in America," pp.

The following petition to Governor Gooch of Virginia, dated July 30, , affords a basis for comparison with a Scotch-Irish frontier:. Calendar of Virginia State Papers, i, p. See F. The demand for remission of taxes is a common feature of the petitions there quoted. Schuyler-Lighthall, "Glorious Enterprise," p. You know they stand all close together, rank and file, and my men fight so as Indians do, and I want your warriours to join with me and my warriours, like brothers, and ambush the Regulars: if you will, I will give you money, blankets, tomahawks, knives, paint, and any thing that there is in the army, just like brothers; and I will go with you into the woods to scout; and my men and your men will sleep together, and eat and drink together, and fight Regulars, because they first killed our brothers" American Archives, 4th Series, ii, p.

Merrill, "Amesbury," pp. Mirick, "Haverhill," pp. Metcalf, "Annals of Mendon," p. Compare the Kentucky petition of given in Roosevelt, "Winning of the West," ii, p. Washburn, "Leicester," pp. Andrew McF. Davis: see his "Colonial Currency Reprints," i, pp. Holland, "Western Massachusetts," p.

Hurd ed. The italics are mine. Dwight, "Travels" , ii, pp. It is not the oldest West with which this chapter deals. The oldest West was the Atlantic coast. Roughly speaking, it took a century of Indian fighting and forest felling for the colonial settlements to expand into the interior to a distance of about a hundred miles from the coast.

Indeed, some stretches were hardly touched in that period. This conquest of the nearest wilderness in the course of the seventeenth century and in the early years of the eighteenth, gave control of the maritime section of the nation and made way for the new movement of westward expansion which I propose to discuss. In his "Winning of the West," Roosevelt dealt chiefly with the region beyond the Alleghanies, and with the period of the later eighteenth century, although he prefaced his account with an excellent chapter describing the backwoodsmen of the Alleghanies and their social conditions from to It is important to notice, however, that he is concerned with a backwoods society already formed; that he ignores the New England frontier and its part in the winning of the West, and does not recognize that there was a West to be won between New England and the Great Lakes.

In short, he is interested in the winning of the West beyond the Alleghanies by the southern half of the frontier folk. There is, then, a western area intermediate between the coastal colonial settlements of the seventeenth century and the trans-Alleghany settlements of the latter portion of the eighteenth century.

This section I propose to isolate and discuss under the name of the Old West, and in the period from about to It includes the back country of New England, the Mohawk Valley, the Great Valley of Pennsylvania, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Piedmont—that is, the interior or upland portion of the South, lying between the Alleghanies and the head of navigation of the Atlantic rivers marked by the "fall line.

In this region, and in these years, are to be found the beginnings of much that is characteristic in Western society, for the Atlantic coast was in such close touch with Europe that its frontier experience was soon counteracted, and it developed along other lines. It is unfortunate that the colonial back country appealed so long to historians solely in connection with the colonial wars, for the development of its society, its institutions and mental attitude all need study.

Its history has been dealt with in separate fragments, by states, or towns, or in discussions of special phases, such as German and Scotch-Irish immigration. The Old West as a whole can be [ 69 ] appreciated only by obliterating the state boundaries which conceal its unity, by correlating the special and fragmentary studies, and by filling the gaps in the material for understanding the formation of its society.

The present paper is rather a reconnaissance than a conquest of the field, a program for study of the Old West rather than an exposition of it. The end of the period proposed may be placed about , and the beginning between and The termination of the period is marked by the Peace of Paris in , and the royal proclamation of that year forbidding settlement beyond the Alleghanies.

By this time the settlement of the Old West was fairly accomplished, and new advances were soon made into the "Western Waters" beyond the mountains and into the interior of Vermont and New Hampshire. The isolation of the transmontane settlements, and the special conditions and doctrines of the Revolutionary era during which they were formed, make a natural distinction between the period of which I am to speak and the later extension of the West. The beginning of the period is necessarily an indeterminate date, owing to the different times of colonizing the coastal areas which served as bases of operations in the westward advance.

The most active movements into the Old West occurred after But in New England, having closed the exhausting struggle with the Indians, known as King Philip's War, could regard her established settlements as secure, and go on to complete her possession of the interior. This she did in the midst of conflicts with the exterior Indian tribes which invaded her frontiers from New York and Canada during the French and Indian wars from to , and under frontier conditions different from the conditions of the earlier Puritan colonization.

In , Virginia was passing through Indian fighting—keenest along the fall line, where the frontier lay—and also experiencing a social revolt which resulted in the defeat of the [ 70 ] democratic forces that sought to stay the progress of aristocratic control in the colony. Let us first examine the northern part of the movement into the back country. The expansion of New England into the vacant spaces of its own section, in the period we have chosen for discussion, resulted in the formation of an interior society which contrasted in many ways with that of the coast, and which has a special significance in Western history, in that it was this interior New England people who settled the Greater New England in central and western New York, the Wyoming Valley, the Connecticut Reserve of Ohio, and much of the prairie areas of the Old Northwest.

He also stressed results, especially that American democracy was the primary result, along with egalitarianism , a lack of interest in high culture , and violence. It came out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier," said Turner.

In the thesis, the American frontier established liberty by releasing Americans from European mindsets and eroding old, dysfunctional customs. The frontier had no need for standing armies, established churches, aristocrats or nobles. There was no landed gentry who controlled most of the land and charged heavy rents and fees.

Frontier land was practically free for the taking. 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. He won wide acclaim among historians and intellectuals. Turner elaborated on the theme in his advanced history lectures and in a series of essays published over the next 25 years, published along with his initial paper as The Frontier in American History.

Turner's emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories. Turner begins the essay by calling to attention the fact that the western frontier line, which had defined the entirety of American history up to the s, had ended.

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. 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.

According to Turner, American progress has repeatedly undergone a cyclical process on the frontier line as society has needed to redevelop with its movement westward. Everything in American history up to the s somehow relates the western frontier, including slavery.

In spite of this, Turner laments, the frontier has received little serious study from historians and economists. Furthermore, there is a need to escape the confines of the State. The most important aspect of the frontier to Turner is its effect on democracy. The frontier transformed Jeffersonian democracy into Jacksonian democracy. Turner sets up the East and the West as opposing forces; as the West strives for freedom, the East seeks to control it.

He cites British attempts to stifle western emigration during the colonial era and as an example of eastern control. Even after independence, the eastern coast of the United States sought to control the West. Religious institutions from the eastern seaboard, in particular, battled for possession of the West.

The tensions between small churches as a result of this fight, Turner states, exist today because of the religious attempt to master the West and those effects are worth further study. American intellect owes its form to the frontier as well. Turner concludes the essay by saying that with the end of the frontier, the first period of American history has ended. The Frontier Thesis came about at a time when the Germanic germ theory of history was popular.

Proponents of the germ theory believed that political habits are determined by innate racial attributes. According to the theory, the Germanic race appeared and evolved in the ancient Teutonic forests, endowed with a great capacity for politics and government. Their germs were, directly and by way of England, carried to the New World where they were allowed to germinate in the North American forests. According to Bancroft, the Germanic germs had spread across of all Western Europe by the Middle Ages and had reached their height.

In , medieval historian Carl Stephenson published an extended article refuting the Germanic germ theory. Evidently, the belief that free political institutions of the United States spawned in ancient Germanic forests endured well into the s. A similarly race-based interpretation of Western history also occupied the intellectual sphere in the United States before Turner.

The racial warfare theory was an emerging belief in the late nineteenth century advocated by Theodore Roosevelt in The Winning of the West. Turner and Roosevelt diverged on the exact aspect of frontier life that shaped the contemporary American. Each side, the Westerners and the native savages, struggled for mastery of the land through violence.

Whereas Turner saw the development of American character occur just behind the frontier line, as the colonists tamed and tilled the land, Roosevelt saw it form in battles just beyond the frontier line. Turner set up an evolutionary model he had studied evolution with a leading geologist, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin , using the time dimension of American history, and the geographical space of the land that became the United States. They adapted to the new physical, economic and political environment in certain ways—the cumulative effect of these adaptations was Americanization.

Successive generations moved further inland, shifting the lines of settlement and wilderness, but preserving the essential tension between the two. European characteristics fell by the wayside and the old country's institutions e. Every generation moved further west and became more American, more democratic, and more intolerant of hierarchy.

They also became more violent, more individualistic, more distrustful of authority, less artistic, less scientific, and more dependent on ad-hoc organizations they formed themselves. In broad terms, the further west, the more American the community.

Turner saw the land frontier was ending, since the U. Census of had officially stated that the American frontier had broken up. He sounded an alarming note, speculating as to what this meant for the continued dynamism of American society as the source of U. Historians, geographers, and social scientists have studied frontier-like conditions in other countries, with an eye on the Turnerian model. South Africa, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Argentina and Australia—and even ancient Rome—had long frontiers that were also settled by pioneers.

The question is whether their frontiers were powerful enough to overcome conservative central forces based in the metropolis. In Australia, "mateship" and working together was valued more than individualism. Turner's thesis quickly became popular among intellectuals. It explained why the American people and American government were so different from their European counterparts. It was popular among New Dealers—Franklin Roosevelt and his top aides [19] thought in terms of finding new frontiers.

This is the great, the nation-wide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear. This is the frontier—the America—we have set ourselves to reclaim. Chandler Jr. Many believed that the end of the frontier represented the beginning of a new stage in American life and that the United States must expand overseas. However, others viewed this interpretation as the impetus for a new wave in the history of United States imperialism.

William Appleman Williams led the "Wisconsin School" of diplomatic historians by arguing that the frontier thesis encouraged American overseas expansion, especially in Asia, during the 20th century. Williams viewed the frontier concept as a tool to promote democracy through both world wars, to endorse spending on foreign aid, and motivate action against totalitarianism.

Other historians, who wanted to focus scholarship on minorities, especially Native Americans and Hispanics, started in the s to criticize the frontier thesis because it did not attempt to explain the evolution of those groups. Turner never published a major book on the frontier for which he did 40 years of research. Mode in , argued that churches adapted to the characteristics of the frontier, creating new denominations such as the Mormons , the Church of Christ , the Disciples of Christ , and the Cumberland Presbyterians.

The frontier, they argued, shaped uniquely American institutions such as revivals, camp meetings, and itinerant preaching.

Thesis full jackson text turner frontier frederick five paragraph paper outline

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For the full text and footnotes, see The Frontier in American History, , ch. 1, from the American Studies Program, University of Virginia, at http://xroads. Author: Frederick Jackson Turner We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.