The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development. . The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. Sectional groupings appear in the votes, profoundly significant for the historian. He has lived many years in connection with the second grade; and now the third wave is sweeping over large districts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. It is evident that the unifying tendencies of the Revolutionary period were facilitated by the previous cooperation in the regulation of the frontier.
What is now a manufacturing State was in an earlier decade an area of intensive farming. In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. This is just here in case you need some reminders of what it said. The coast was preponderantly English, but the later tides of continental immigration flowed across to the free lands. In the first half of the eighteenth century another advance occurred. Land The exploitation of the beasts took hunter and trader to the west, the exploitation of the grasses took the rancher west, and the exploitation of the virgin soil of the river valleys and prairies attracted the farmer.
The men of the frontier had closer resemblances to the Middle region than to either of the other sections. Obviously the immigrant was attracted by the cheap lands of the frontier, and even the native farmer felt their influence strongly. The tax-gatherer is viewed as a representative of oppression. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. A rapid enumeration of some of the more noteworthy effects is all that I have time for. The settlements from the sea to the mountains kept connection with the rear and had a certain solidarity.
I have refrained from dwelling on the lawless characteristics of the frontier, because they are sufficiently well known. The Middle region was less English than the other sections. Thus each one of the periods of lax financial integrity coincides with periods when a new set of frontier communities had arisen, and coincides in area with these successive frontiers, for the most part. Its charter would be granted eight years later as a democratic colony believing in the separation of church and state. The men of the frontier had closer resemblances to the Middle region than to either of the other sections. In part this is due to Indian resistance, in part to the location of river valleys and passes, in part to the unequal force of the centers of frontier attraction. I have to thank the Secretary of the Society, Mr.
The wilderness masters the colonist. Such examples teach us to beware of misinterpreting the fact that there is a common English speech in America into a belief that the stock is also English. An interesting illustration of the tone of frontier democracy in 1830 comes from the same debates in the Virginia convention already referred to. And let me tell the gentleman from Albemarle Mr. The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The effect reached back from the frontier and affected profoundly the Atlantic coast and even the Old World. The farmers met Indians armed with guns.
Over internal improvements occurred great debates, in which grave constitutional questions were discussed. But when discovery was made of the salt springs of the Kanawha, and the Holston, and Kentucky, and central New York, the West began to be freed from dependence on the coast. First, we note that the frontier promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people. But in the case of the United States we have a different phenomenon. Daniel Boone, the great backwoodsman, who combined the occupations of hunter, trader, cattle-raiser, farmer, and surveyor-learning, probably from the traders, of the fertility of the lands of the upper Yadkin, where the traders were wont to rest as they took their way to the Indians, left his Pennsylvania home with his father, and passed down the Great Valley road to that stream.
And the settlement of these and similar questions for one frontier served as a guide for the next. In part this is due to Indian resistance, in part to the location of river valleys and passes, in part to the unequal force of the centers of frontier attraction. Salt was used 4 preserving food. Peck, New Guide to the West Cincinnati, 1848 , ch. Compare Wilson, Division and Reunion, pp. The small village rises to a spacious town or city; substantial edifices of brick, extensive fields, orchards, gardens, colleges, and churches are seen.
In this connection may be mentioned the importance of the frontier, from that day to this, as a military training school, keeping alive the power of resistance to aggression, and developing the stalwart and rugged qualities of the frontiersman. It has frequently been asked how such a people could have developed that strained nervous energy now characteristic of them. Jesse Macy, The Institutional Beginnings of a Western State. In this progress from savage conditions lie topics for the evolutionist. A primitive society can hardly be expected to show the intelligent appreciation of the complexity of business interests in a developed society. Writers have discussed the subjects of tariff, land, and internal improvement, as subsidiary to the slavery question. The explanation of the rapidity of this advance is connected with the effects of the trader on the Indian.
The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier. How does Turner connect the ingenuity of the American frontiersmen with the ever-present influence of nature? Civilization entered the wilderness in the 1880s. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. French colonization was dominated by its trading frontier; English colonization by its farming frontier. Loose construction increased as the nation marched westward.