As the United States progressed toward the twentieth century, a new spirit seemed to arise throughout the land, one of new identity, of confident optimism, at times of bellicose chauvinism. In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner announced that Americans were uniquely different from all other peoples of the world. Through their efforts in conquering each succeeding American frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific over the past three centuries, they had formulated democratic institutions and fashioned a way of life far superior to that of their European counterparts. They should therefore be justly proud of their history and traditions and accomplishments--and they were. Through the discovery and exploitation of such fabulous natural resources as oil and gas, coal and iron ore, gold and silver, the, United States had become the foremost industrial power in the world, surpassing both England and Germany. Five transcontinental railroads, their iron tentacles inextricably linking together the agrarian and urban areas of the nation, had created new markets and numerous jobs for a population nearing seventy-five million. And American ingenuity, as evidenced by the genius of Thomas Alva Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, seemed to illustrate the manifold blessings of a free society as well as the obvious advantages of a democratic system of government.
Many Americans in the 1890s also exuded a certain restless energy, an increasing appetite for challenge, together with a need to extend their growing pride of nationalism. And why? Possibly, young men had listened too longingly to romantic stories by Civil War veterans, who were enamored with the valor and heroism of individuals in battle, while overlooking the bloody slaughter of soldiers and the anguishing misery of defeat. Or, perhaps, with the Plains, Indians of the West and Southwest subdued by