Railroads and Conflict in the West

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Who is Frederick Jackson Turner and what was his idea of American History?

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Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Frederick Jackson Turner (1861– 1932) is best known for his "Frontier Thesis" and the arguments it made concerning how the West was the most distinctly American region. In his book, The Significance of the Frontier in American History, Turner presented the theory that Westward expansion and the people who headed west during the 1800s forged the characteristics that were most uniquely American. The settlers who headed to the Western frontier found new ways to meet their challenges, ridding themselves of Eastern and European ideas of civilization and producing new generations of self-sustaining individuals. Turner won the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for History for his later essays on sectionalism in The Significance of Sections in American History.

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