What was Frederick Jackson Turner's "frontier thesis" and what are the criticisms of it?please have supporting details.

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historyteacher63 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Turner argued that the frontier impacted the development of American democracy. Americans have an independent spirit characterized by self-reliance, strength, ingenuity and practicality. These traits were the basis of American culture and democracy. He was the frontier as an outlet for the restless American spirit.  Many critics feel the development of the uniquely American character and democracy is much more complex and cannot be explained so simply. Additionally settlers in the West often relied on others to be successful - wagon trains, barn raisings etc. Conquering the West was far from the romantic ideal seen in literature and movies. While this may be seen as a great opportunity for white settlers, it involved the destruction of Native American culture.


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