The Military and United States Indian Policy, 1865-1903

The Military and United States Indian Policy, 1865-1903

The Military and United States Indian Policy, 1865-1903

The Military and United States Indian Policy, 1865-1903

Excerpt

In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner proclaimed the close of the American frontier to his colleagues at the American Historical Association meeting. This speech, which offered a fresh view of American history, established Turner's reputation, and he went on to become the preeminent American historian of the early twentieth century. In addition to arguing that the frontier explained the uniqueness of the American character and acted as a "safety valve" for American liberty, Turner maintained in a series of books, articles, and speeches that sectionalism was fundamental to American development and life. Eager students and disciples, most notably Ray Allen Billington, refined and added to Turner's frontier thesis and sought in particular to examine the West as a distinct, identifiable region of the United States.

Critics, however, launched a series of counterattacks against the Turnerians in the 1930s, assailing Turner's overgeneralizations, his "safety valve" concept, and his tendency toward overstatement. Earl Pomeroy in particular pointed to the significance of imported cultural traits rather than geography in affecting frontier life. Pomeroy also rebuked western historians for limit-

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