US History I Honors
Jan. 14, 2012
Frontier Thesis Analysis
Throughout the early 20th Century, Fredrick Jackson Turner changed many people’s views on evolution by creating his idea of the Frontier Thesis. Throughout his entire thesis he explained that the more west the settlers move, the more distant and individualized they become from their homeland of Europe. After receiving his PhD from Johns Hopkins University and later becoming a professor of history at Wisconsin and Harvard University, he became one of the most intelligent men when it came to history. His encyclopedic knowledge of American history earned him the reputation by 1910 as one of the two or three most influential historians in the country at that time. After completing the US History I class, I can confidently say that I agree with Jackson’s thesis. History has proven that as the years progress so does the evolution of the American people. Not only did people evolve more as they moved west, individuals also established their own religion, government, and education system.
Religion was a topic that was extremely strict in Europe; it was their way or no way. As more immigrants came to America looking for a fresh start, they realized they had more freedom to do as they pleased, for example, the Mormons. The Mormons were not accepted by many, therefore forcing them to move around the country and expand westward into the unknown territory. The farther into the new territory they went, the farther away they were from anyone who had any say in what they could do. Even though the Mormon religion was frowned upon by many throughout the country and ended up coming to a halt when their leader Joseph Smith died, it was a prime example of how separating from Europe gave people the option to have more of an expression of how they wanted to live them lives. Moving westward showed that the farther west a group of people who were frowned upon travel, the less people
wanted to do with them.
Government and security were extremely big parts that made the United States become more of an independent country. The United States refused to let one ruler have all of the power, just like they did in England. To prevent this from happening, the US created a democracy. Being controlled by someone who is across an entire ocean made it extremely hard for them to monitor what was going on and moving west made it nearly impossible for the British to even have an idea of what was going on. Putting more distant in between lead to the realization that moving west gave them the freedom of an entire new life.
In today’s day and age, the world in which we live in thrives on education. It is proven that the more education that one has, the farther they are able to go in life. Education gives many people opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have. Depending where you live, you often learn things very differently. For example, in New Jersey many people know about the Civil War, but if you travel down south the Civil War is not common. Many refer to the war as the War of Northern Aggression or the War for Southern Independence. The more west you travel into the United States, the more the story of the Civil War might also change. The more west an individual may move, the more distant and uninvolved they will become in what is going on in with the majority. Every region of the United States has their own criteria and curriculum; this proves Tuner’s Frontier Thesis because the more distant and spread out over an area individuals become the more different and individualized their lives become.
Fredrick Jackson Turner’s Thesis does an extremely good job of explaining why life is the way it is today. The more distant that is between two groups of people, the more likely they are to go down different routes in life. As generations moved farther west they became more American by losing the traditions of their ancestors in Europe and creating their own. The newer generations begin to pick up traditions from others around them and combine them with what they were taught. As the years go on, nothing can stay the same. Things and people change, which is just a part of life. It is hard to remain in contact with people who are half a world away. People were bound to become more Americanized as they moved west, it was just a matter of time.