Arguments Against Turner Frontier Thesis


Fredrick Jackson Turner, an influential American historian gave the argument: “Origins of the Distinctive Equalitarian, Democratic, Aggressive, And Innovative Features of the American Character Has Been the American Frontier Experience”. This argument is known as the frontier thesis. Turner frontier thesis was first announced in a paper entitled “The Significance of the Frontier in the American History” and delivered to American Historical Association in 1893.

Fredrick Jackson frontier thesis emphasized the process: the moving frontier line and impact of the moving frontier line on pioneers suffering through this process. Frontier thesis 1893 proved to be remarkable and long-lasting. In spite of the several scholarly rebuttals and counter-theses in the century that followed, Turner's interpretation of American history still enjoys the acceptance of large numbers of ordinary Americans.

If you analyze only the frontier thesis summary, you will find out a good deal about Frontier thesis criticism. A number of arguments in Fredrick Turner frontier thesis exhibit serious shortcomings. Here are the arguments which go against Jackson turner frontier thesis:

  1. He fails to take account of the First Nations as a major player in colonial history and reduce their role to that of mere resistance to English settlement.
  2. He also pushes aside importance of the fur trade, even though it was the catalyst for intense commercial rivalry for New England colonies, New France, and the Indians themselves.
  3. Turner’s exemplifies the frontier purely as a western English phenomenon and completely ignores the frontier faced by the French colonists on their western and southern border. Fredrick Jackson Turner Frontier thesis ignores the northern frontier of English colonies like New York and Massachusetts.

Fredrick Jackson Turner wanted to prove that American character, democracy and civilization were shaped by the settlement as depicted by his frontier thesis definition. However, shortcomings in Turner’s frontier thesis let us find out that the frontier thesis is incomplete and fails to depict about the significance of many frontiers which comprised the Colonial America.