Frederick Jackson Turner

Frederick Jackson Turner, 1861–1932, American historian, b. Portage, Wis. He taught at the Univ. of Wisconsin from 1885 to 1910 except for a year spent in graduate study at Johns Hopkins. From 1910 to 1924 he taught at Harvard, and later he was research associate at the Henry E. Huntington Library. At first he taught rhetoric and oratory but turned to U.S. history, soon focusing on Western history. His doctoral dissertation, The Character and Influence of the Indian Trade in Wisconsin (1891; an enlargement of his master's essay), showed the trend of his interest. In 1893, at the meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago, he delivered an address, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," which outlined brilliantly the history of the receding frontier and its effect in creating American democracy. Little noticed at the time, it was to prove epoch-making in American history writing. It supplied a large part of a generation of historians with a theme to investigate. Turner's ideas are now generally incorporated in some form in most American history texts; although a historical controversy has raged for decades over the validity of his frontier thesis, few critics reject it entirely. The address and various short papers were reprinted in The Frontier in American History (1920). He collaborated with Edward Channing and Albert Bushnell Hart in the revision of Guide to the Study and Reading of American History (1912). Though he produced few books—The Rise of the New West ( "American Nation" series, 1906) and two studies in sectionalism, The Significance of Sections in American History (1932) and the posthumously published The United States, 1830–1850 (1935)—his influence as a teacher and proponent of a new and important theory made him one of the most renowned of all American historians.

See The Early Writings of Frederick Jackson Turner (1938, repr. 1969); R. Hofstadter, Progressive Historians (1968); R. A. Billington, Frederick Jackson Turner (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Frederick Jackson Turner: Selected full-text books and articles

The Frontier in American History By Frederick Jackson Turner Henry Holt, 1947
The Early Writings of Frederick Jackson Turner By Frederick Jackson Turner; Everett E. Edwards University of Wisconsin Press, 1938
FREE! Rise of the New West, 1819-1829 By Frederick Jackson Turner Harper & Brothers, 1906
British Essays in American History By H. C. Allen; C. P. Hill St. Martin's Press, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Contains "F. J. Turner and the Frontier In American History"
The American Frontier By Ray Allen Billington Service Center for Teachers of History, 1958
The Distorted Image: Changing Conceptions of the American Character since Turner By Thomas L. Hartshorne Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1968
The American Past: Conflicting Interpretations of the Great Issues By Sidney Fine; Gerald S. Brown Macmillan, vol.2, 1961
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "The Turner Thesis: Is It a Valid Key to the Meaning of American History?"
Bush and Backwoods: A Comparison of the Troutier in Australia and the United States By H. C. Allen Michigan State University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8, "Turner on Two Continents"
Individualism and Conformity in the American Character: Problems in American Civilization By Richard L. Rapson D. C. Heath, 1967
Librarian’s tip: Contains "Frederick Jackson Turner: The Frontier and Individualism"
Beating a Dead Horse?: The Continuing Presence of Frederick Jackson Turner in Environmental and Western History By Hutton, T. R. C International Social Science Review, Spring-Summer 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
In Search of America: Transatlantic Essays, 1951-1990 By Marcus Cunliffe Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16. "Willa Cather and Frederick Jackson Turner"
An Innis, Not a Turner By Kaye, Frances W American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. 31, No. 4, Winter 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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