The terms, the American frontier and the westward

The frontier thesis that
was explained by Frederick Jackson Turner, discusses that “the existence of an
area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of the American
settlement westward, explain American development.” In simpler terms, the
American frontier and the westward expansion led to the formation of the
American character. Development was shown by not only the advancement along a
single line but a return to the survival skills of our ancestors to advancing
along the moving frontier line. America not only grew developmentally at this
time but also socially, with the frontier line constantly moving the social
structure was constantly resetting. With this reset brought new opportunities
and discoveries that began to dictate the American character. Even with the
ideas of customs, traditions, and environmental issues with every new frontier
that came to the American people they made a new opportunity from it. The
American character is one of confidence, belief in a better future, and an
adventure that comes from removing the restraints of any and all ideas of
society. The same character America had during the westward expansion still
shows through in the America we live in today, in belief that we can make the
future better through improvements, confidence in the leaders of our country
and in ourselves, and the sense of adventure we get by living like Americans
and not any other country of people.

While I agree with most
of Turner’s view of the westward expansion and the development of the American
character, I would add one significant revision. Turner’s view discussed the
west as being a brand new world ready to be settled, and in settling they were
just taming the frontier as they crossed it. Turner does not discuss how the
settlers had to vanquish the settlements of the Native Americans and other
groups of people that were already there. He discussed it as just being an
expansion westward. Turner did not hit on the fact that the American people
wiped out entire colonies of Natives Americans on their way west. Or the fact
that they tried to convert them to Christianity and turn them away from their
religious teachings in an attempt to turn them into respectable citizens. Once
they realized this would not work for all and would not last long they began
killing them more often and running the Natives off the land they had lived and
hunted on for years. While the expansion west did happen and yes, they did tame
the west as they went, not all things they did were noble and honorable, this I
feel should be mentioned in part of the shaping of the American character. 

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