His father was active in Republican politics, an investor in the railroad, and was a newspaper editor and publisher.
According to Turner, "American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development. One Turner thesis arguments the most critical is his failure to take account of the First Nations as a major player in colonial history and instead reducing their role to that of mere resistance to English settlement.
He also brushes aside the importance of the fur trade, even though it was a catalyst for intense commercial rivalry for the New England colonies, New France, and the Indians themselves. Instead he uses vague terms such as "savagery" and "Indian country" that add subtle support to his assertion that settlers were moving into "free land," land presumably free of other people.
Both empires forged alliances with the various tribes and enlisted their warriors to take part in a long series of colonial wars that ended only with the American Revolution. The French, for instance, established a longstanding alliance with the Abenakis, who used their position south of the Saint Lawrence River to launch devastating attacks on New England towns and settlements.
They also gained numerous allies in the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes region, who were sufficiently powerful to push English settlement back over the Appalachians and thereby reverse the "continuous recession" of the frontier. An ally of England since the expulsion of the Dutch from what is now New York, the Iroquois had engaged in a long series of wars with France and its Indian allies.
In the French finally made peace with the League as part of a diplomatic maneuver to prepare for an imminent war with England, giving the Iroquois the right "to come to Montreal to obtain your necessities and the right to hunt without being disturbed by the Savages allies of Onnontio [the French King].
With the Iroquois having been recognized by the Treaty of Utrecht as subjects of the British Crown, the alliance gave England the opportunity to convert traditional Iroquois authority over First Nations such as the Delawares into acknowledgement of English sovereignty over Indian lands.
However, Turner downplays the importance of the trade, seeing it as only as a momentary phase in the development of the English colonies. He even goes so far as to argue that "French colonization was dominated by its trading frontier; English colonization by its farming frontier.
Even as late as the midth century, New York and its southern rival, Pennsylvania, considered the fur trade important enough to make determined efforts to direct the trade into their respective territories.
They did so because of the need to make their colonies financially profitable, a goal that made farming less of an economic priority then the acquisition of a lucrative commodity like furs. Thus the Plymouth colonists began trading in furs from the Abenakis within five years of the establishment of their settlement and set up the so-called "Undertakers" to carry out the trade.
Apart from his self-contradicting idea of Indian lands being unsettled yet inhabited, Turner greatly oversimplifies the character of the frontier in several important ways.
There were actually at least three frontiers that played a critical role in American history. While it is true that one frontier line ran from the north to the south, the New England colonies had a northern frontier running from east to west. It was across this frontier that French troops and their Indian allies put pressure on colonial Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, which ended only with the defeat of France in the Seven Years War.
Far from receding, this frontier remained a permanent feature of New England until the s. The southern border, of course, brushed against the New England colonies, but the western frontier lay against the territories making up the Iroquois League.
Doing so necessarily involved going to war with the English as well, and the course of these wars helped shape the development of all the European colonies, both French and English.
This frontier lingered on long after its geographical counterparts in the colonies had vanished, and in some cases it hardened into deep-seated animosity. In both cases, colonists and Indians lived on opposite sides of a cultural divide that led the colonists to take repressive or violent measures against the Indians.
Along with denying the importance of the First Nations and the central role played by the fur trade in stimulating the colonial economies and Anglo-French rivalry, Turner also fails to acknowledge the complexity of the frontier itself.Frederick Jackson Turner remains one of the most influential historians of America's past, and his famous frontier thesis is related to the above idea, in that his basic idea is that constant contact with an open frontier for almost years of American history contributed to America's uniqueness—or exceptionalism.
The Turner Theses The central thesis about the frontier coined by Frederick Jackson Turner, commonly called the frontier thesis, has to do with the origins of the American national character.
Many of Turner's arguments, however, exhibit serious shortcomings when they are examined more closely. As a result, Turner's thesis is an inadequate explanation of the underlying forces that shaped American history. Footnotes 1 Frederick Jackson Turner, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," coursepack, 2 Turner, Frederick Jackson Turner's essay, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," written in , is perhaps the most influential essay ever read at the American Historical Association's annual conference.
In the years since it was delivered, it has become part of the standard historiography of American History, spawned a massive following of "Turnerians" both in and out of the. Frederick Jackson Turner () "The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development.".
Fredrick Jackson Turner, an influential American historian gave the argument: “Origins of the Distinctive Equalitarian, Democratic, Aggressive, And Innovative Features of the American Character Has Been the American Frontier Experience”.This argument is known as the frontier thesis.
Turner frontier thesis was first announced in a paper entitled “The Significance of the Frontier in the.