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Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Significance of the Frontier in American History. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1894.
In "The Frontier in American History," Frederick Jackson Turner, a past professor of American history at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University, argues that American democracy and Americanism were made in the West. Although the boundaries of the West--also referred to as the frontier in this text--were constantly shifting further westward, Turner believes that this frontier always shared a similar set of values. He furthers this by saying that the values possessed in the West were many times in conflict with Eastern ideals. Frederick Jackson Turner illustrates how many of the conflicts between Eastern and Western ideals the West won, because it was the frontier always which was creating the new race of Americans. The West, Turner contends, created the type of many who is the American race, not a transatlantic European, but something entirely different from all other races. He argues that the fight for the frontier has been the distinctive feature of American history. In his words, "America's contribution to the history of the human spirit has been due to this nation's peculiar experience in extending its type of frontier into new regions; and in creating peaceful societies with new ideals..."; Turner notes that essays are a valuable source to read collectively, because they are commentaries in different periods on the central theme of the influence of the frontier in American history. The cultural landscape in this text, the frontier, has continually shifting boundaries with sets of distinctive ideals and Frederick Jackson Turner in this work describes both of these characteristics. [J. Bixler]