Why was Daniel Boone important to US history?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Although legends have been created about Daniel Boone, he is of himself a worthy figure of history. For one thing, he was a fearless and brilliant fighter who fought in the French Indian War. When many of the men with whom he fought were killed, Daniel Boone escaped on horseback. This escape of Boone's was fortunate because he was one of the Western frontiers greatest explorers. For, in the spring of 1769, Boone, along with John Finley, led another expedition that led to the discovery of the Cumberland Gap trail that led to the far west. So, because of Daniel Boone, the people who wanted to go West now had access to the frontier. This discovery of Boone's is, indeed, important to history, as well as his courageous behavior in wartime and in taming the wilderness which exemplified admirable male qualities in his era, qualities that are yet deserving of awe and respect.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many ways, we can argue that Daniel Boone is not important in American history.  At the very least, we should say that Boone’s own actions are much less important to our history than the image of Boone that has grown up over the years.

Daniel Boone was not someone who did anything that really changed the course of history.  He was not a political leader.  He did not lead troops in significant battles.  He had nothing to do with important public policy.  It is true that he did lead the white settlement of the area that would become Kentucky.  However, it is very likely that this would have happened even if Boone had not been there to lead it.  Thus, we can say that he was not important.

However, Boone has become important in our history as a symbol.  He is a symbol of the American frontiersman.  Like the cowboys of the Old West, Boone is seen as an exemplar of American virtues.  We think of him as a tough, self-reliant individual who pushed the boundaries of the United States further without any help from governments or big companies.  He is a symbol of who we think we are as a country.  Symbols are very important to a country’s history and therefore Boone is important to our history.

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laurto's profile pic

laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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"Boone's fame stems from his exploits during the exploration and settlement of Kentucky. He first arrived in the future state in 1767 and spent the better part of the next 30 years exploring and settling the lands of Kentucky, including carving out the Wilderness Road and building the settlement station of Boonesboro."

Basically, Daniel Boone was important in US history because he helped the expansion of America during the 1760s to 1780s. 

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