The Significance of the Western Frontier in American History

Written by Frederick J Turner 1893

This…. was…. a chore to get through. I kind of distain quitting something I’ve started so I soldiered ahead with this one. Plus, I really wanted to absorb the perspective of what a budding society thought and justified why it was more than ok to just forge straight through land, people, natural resources like they owned them simply because they did not look like them or live like them. But I was particularly interested in this little book because of when it was written and I was curious of the language used. I think it was the only thing that kept me going. Though it dry, I was curious anyway. There was parts that were maddening. But I’ve learned that if I’m going to commit to criticizing, I should have as many perspectives as possible. This was one way to do that.

I know it may seem like this was a random choice, but, like I do, I picked it up on my travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2014. Having lived in the Northeast of the US for almost my whole life, I realized I knew so little about the history of the Southwest.

I went wanting to just know more and dig deeper into history. I found myself so drawn to the original groups of people that lived there so that’s what I tried to keep my eyes on. In doing so, this book, I was hoping would kind of peel the cloth back on what todays white Americans won’t say, admit, look at, acknowledge as just wrong in terms of how to some- like the author of this little book looked at such “open and free land”.

Plus the language was dry, presumptuous and written in a “the white European man knows best” language. It was hard not to puke at times.