The purchase of Louisiana was perhaps the constitutional turning point in the history of the Republic, inasmuch as it afforded both a new area for national legislation and the occasion of the downfall of the policy of strict construction. See the admirable monograph by Prof. A writer in The Home Missionary 1850 , p. That coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things, lacking in the artistic but powerful to effect great ends; that restless, nervous energy; that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil, and withal that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom—these are traits of the frontier, or traits called out elsewhere because of the existence of the frontier. The Plymouth pilgrims settled on Indian cornfields; had lumber and beaver. The trading frontier, while steadily undermining Indian power by making the tribes ultimately dependent on the whites, yet, through its sale of guns, gave to the Indian increased power of resistance to the farming frontier. This frontier stretched along the western border like a cord of union.
The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accept its conditions; the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier. The rising steam navigation on western waters, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the westward extension of cotton culture added five frontier states to the Union in this period. Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change ,their manners with their habits of life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counselers, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them. The wilderness masters the colonist. Compare Sumner, Alexander Hamilton, Chs.
The East took a narrow view of American advance, and nearly lost these men. Clay, by his tariff compromise with Mr. An annual pilgrimage to the coast for salt thus became essential. Osgood, in an able article, has pointed out that the frontier conditions prevalent in the colonies are important factors in the explanation of the American Revolution, where individual liberty was sometimes confused with absence of all effective government. Kercheval, History of the Valley; Bernheim, German Settlements in the Carolinas; Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, V, p. Britain gained all territory east of the Mississippi River.
The Old Dominion has long been celebrated for producing great orators; the ablest metaphysicians in policy; men that can split hairs in all abstruse questions of political economy. For example, he may study the origin of our land policies in the colonial land policy; he may see how the system grew by adapting the statutes to the customs of the successive frontiers. Most of these issues originated with the Cold War consensus and general fear in communism during this period. The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people—to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life. But the West was not content with bringing the farm to the factory. The process of Americanization he refers to is in fact a double transformation of the society. Steadily the trader passed westward, utilizing the older lines of French trade.
The effect of the Indian frontier as a consolidating agent in our history is important. I have to thank the Secretary of the Society, Mr. The rise of democracy as an effective force in the nation came in with western preponderance under Jackson and William Henry Harrison, and it meant the triumph of the frontier— with all of its good and with all of its evil elements. Among the important centers of attraction may be mentioned the following: fertile and favorably situated soils, salt springs, mines, and army posts. Why was it that the Indian trader passed so rapidly across the continent? What is true for New England is, as would be expected, even plainer for the rest of the colonies. Not only would there result a more adequate conception of American development and characteristics, but invaluable additions would be made to the history of society.
The same origin can be shown for the railroads of the South, the Far West, and the Dominion of Canada. Over this they would wander without a possibility of restraint; they would change their manners with their habits of life; would soon forget a government by which they were disowned; would become hordes of English Tartars; and, pouring down upon your unfortified frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, become masters of your governors and your counselers, your collectors and comptrollers, and of all the slaves that adhered to them. He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American life has now entirely ceased. Debates in the Constitutional Convention, 1829—1830. Learning from a trader whose posts were on the Red River in Kentucky of its game and rich pastures, he pioneered the way for the farmers to that region.
Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. This proved to be an important educational influence, since it was almost the only way in which the pioneer learned what was going on in the East. Andrew Cramer July 28, 2014 1865 was a time for reconstruction. The Germans in New York pushed the frontier of settlement up the Mohawk to German Flats. Washington desired to settle a State at a time in the Northwest; Jefferson would reserve from settlement the territory of his Louisiana purchase north of the thirty-second parallel, in order to offer it to the Indians in exchange for their settlements east of the Mississippi.
But earlier it was given over to almost exclusive grain-raising, like North Dakota at the present time. All along the coast from Maine to Georgia the Indian trade opened up the river courses. This no doubt diminishes the number of shipping and the appearance of our trade, but it is far from being a detriment to us. Broadcloths, silks, leghorns, crapes, and all the refinements, luxuries, elegancies, frivolities, and fashions are in vogue. Turner connects the ingenuity of the frontiersmen by omitting the pioneer farmer who moves from the love of adventure, the advance of the more steady farmer is easy to understand.