Historian Frederick Jackson Turner and His Thesis That The Frontier Made America

Frederick Jackson Turner “was an American historian in the early 20th century, based at the University of Wisconsin until 1910, and then at Harvard. He was primarily known for his “Frontier Thesis.” He trained many PhDs who came to occupy prominent places in the history profession.” More.

Quotes from Frederick Jackson Turner on the American character, shaped by the frontier. Among the best:

“To those who followed Columbus and Cortez, the New World truly seemed incredible because of the natural endowments. The land often announced itself with a heavy scent miles out into the ocean. Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 smelled the cedars of the East Coast a hundred leagues out. The men of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon were temporarily disarmed by the fragrance of the New Jersey shore, while ships running farther up the coast occasionally swam through large beds of floating flowers. Wherever they came inland they found a rich riot of color and sound, of game and luxuriant vegetation. Had they been other than they were, they might have written a new mythology here. As it was, they took inventory.”

 

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