The idea that the source of America's power and uniqueness was gone was a distressing concept for some intellectuals.
Some talked about overseas expansion as a new frontier; others (like John F.
Writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson had speculated on the importance of the west, and Theodore Roosevelt wrote a full-scale history of the Tennessee frontier that argued the experience formed a new "race"—the American people.
Turner drew on his knowledge of evolution, and his own research into the fur trade frontier.
What "Progressive" assessments of history appear in Turner's thesis? How does Turner's thesis reflect these changes, try to make sense of them, or sound a warning call for ways in which America might be losing its way as a result of the changes? What activities, identities, geographic locations, etc., reveal that American's normative status?
8) Patricia Nelson Limerick has argued that Turner's "West" is his own hometown of Portage, Wisconsin, and that this fact shapes his assessment of the "frontier process." Do you agree with this assessment of Turner's essay? In what ways is Turner's thesis a statement of American hegemony at the moment of the 1890s, both with regards to that normative American and American territorial expansion?
Prepared by Professor Catherine Lavender for Honors 502 (American Frontiers and Borderlands), Department of History, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York.
Send email to [email protected] modified: Tuesday 5 September 2000.
The history of Montana shows that the Turner thesis best explains the improvement in women's status in Montana and the achievement of suffrage in 1914.
Turner's thesis quickly became popular among intellectuals, as well as spokesmen for the west.