status of frontier history through a review of the work of Frederick Jackson
Turner.43 The book is an agreeable indicator that part of the frontier process for
historians is a regular review of the regional perspective that the discipline
projects as measured against the standards originally enunciated by Frederick
Jackson Turner. Through this procedure, frontier historians have developed their
sense of intellectual confidence about regional studies and have set their discipline
on a strong foundation.
The impact of the introduction of clear strategies for frontier social history
can be clearly seen in the recent literature. Prompted by concerns about definitions, language, emphasis, and perspective, trends in the scholarship changed
direction and matured. Different frontier residents now tend to be the focus for
research. Scholars look to the role of ethnics, the poor, and women on the
frontier. The tone of language used about these peoples changed drastically too.
The values attached to various frontier activities or communities have been
readjusted. Scholars have enlarged on and intensified their own regional view.
The happy result of these forces, which occur in varying degrees in different
publications, has been a bountiful harvest of frontier social history. The multiplication of topics carefully researched not only increases the literature, but also
shows every indication of continuing to stimulate additional work by the profession. Frontier historians molded social history into a rich and viable aspect of the
discipline. Frederick Jackson Turner, who only wanted a pleasant account of pioneer women, would undoubtedly be both astounded and delighted.
Ray Allen Billington, Frederick Jackson Turner: Historian, Scholar, Teacher
( New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 491.
Richard W. Etulain, "Shifting Interpretations of Western American Cultural History", in
Michael P. Malone, ed., Historians and the American West ( Lincoln: University
of Nebraska Press, 1983), pp. 418-19.
Charles A. Beard and
Mary Beard, The American Spirit: A Study of the Idea of
Civilization in the United States ( New York: Macmillan, 1942), pp. 354-64; A. E. Whitehead
, "William E. Borah", in
Marie K. Hochmuth, ed., A History and Criticism of
American Public Address ( New York: Russell and Russell, 1965), pp. 365-410; Vernon L. Parrington
, Main Currents in American Thought: The Colonial Mind, 1620-1800
( New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1927), pp. 139-50; Harvey Wish, Society and Thought in
Early America: A Social and Intellectual History of the American People Through 1865
( New York: David McKay, 1950), chapters 3 and 12.
Jacques Barzun, "Cultural History as a Synthesis", in
Fritz Stern, ed., The Varieties of History ( New York: Meridian, 1956), pp. 387-402.
Ray Allen Billington, America's Frontier Heritage ( New York: Holt, Rinehart,
Winston, 1969), pp. 16-22; Billington, The Genesis of the Frontier Thesis: A Study in
Historical Creativity ( San Marino, Calif.: The Huntington Library, 1971), pp. 173-77;
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: American Frontier and Western Issues:A Historiographical Review.
Contributors: Roger L. Nichols - Editor.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1986.
Page number: 144.
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