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the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history X of this nation is not the Atlantic coast, it is the Great West. Even the slavery struggle, which is made so exclusive an object of attention by writers like Professor von Holst, occupies its important place in American history because of its relation to westward expansion.

In this advance, the frontier is the outer edge of the wave the meeting point between savagery and civilization. Much has been written about the frontier from the point of view of border warfare and the chase, but as a field for the serious study of the economist and the historian it has been neglected.

The American frontier is sharply distinguished from the European frontier - a fortified boundary line running through dense populations. The most significant thing about the American frontier is, that it lies at the hither edge of free land In the census reports it is treated as the margin of that settlement which has a density of two or more to the square mile. The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt, including the Indian country and the outer margin of the “settled area

of the census reports. This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it.

In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. The frontier is the line of

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most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick; he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the devel. opment of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact

is, that here is a new product that is American. At first, the frontier was the Atlantic coast. It was the frontier of Europe

in a very real sense. Moving westward, the frontier became more and more American. As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations, so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics. Thus the advance of the frontier has meant a steady movement away from the influence of Europe, a steady growth of independence on American lines. And to study this advance, the men who grew up under these conditions, and the political, economic, and social results of it, is to study the really American part of our history.

In the course of the seventeenth century the frontier was advanced up the Atlantic river courses, just beyond the “fall line," and the tidewater region became the settled area. In the first half of the eighteenth century another advance occurred. Traders followed the Delaware and Shawnese Indians to the Ohio as early as the end of the first quarter of the century. Gov. Spotswood, of Virginia, made an expedi

' tion in 1714 across the Blue Ridge. The end of the first quarter of the century saw the advance of the Scotch-Irish and the Palatine Germans up the Shenandoah Valley into the western part of Virginia, and along the Piedmont region of the Carolinas." The Germans in New York pushed the frontier of settlement up the Mohawk to German Flats. In Pennsylvania the town of Bedford indicates the line of settlement. Settlements had begun on New River, a branch of the Kanawha, and on the sources of the Yadkin and French Broad." The King attempted to arrest the advance by his proclamation of 1763, forbidding settlements beyond the sources of the rivers flowing into the Atlantic; but in vain. In the period of the Revolution the frontier crossed the Alleghanies into Kentucky and Tennessee, and the upper waters of the Ohio were settled. When the first census was taken in 1790, the continuous settled area was bounded by a line which ran near the coast of Maine, and included New England except a portion of Vermont and New Hampshire, New York along the Hudson

3 Bancroft (1860 ed.), iii, pp. 344, 345, citing Logan MSS.; [Mitchell] * Contest in America,” etc. (1752), p. 237.

4 Kercheval, “ History of the Valley "; Bernheim, “ German Settlements in the Carolinas "; Winsor, “Narrative and Critical History of Amer. ica,” v, p. 304; Colonial Records of North Carolina, iv. p. xx; Weston,

Documents Connected with the History of South Carolina,” p. 82; Ellis and Evans, “History of Lancaster County, Pa.," chs. iii, xxvi.

• Parkman, “Pontiac,” ii; Griffis, “Sir William Johnson," p. 6; Simms's “Frontiersmen of New York."

6 Monette, “ Mississippi Valley," i, p. 311.

7 Wis. Hist. Cols., xi, p. 50; Hinsdale, “Old Northwest," p. 121; Burke, “ Oration on Conciliation," Works (1872 ed.), i, p. 473.

& Roosevelt, “ Winning of the West," and citations there given; Cutler's “Life of Cutler."



and up the Mohawk about Schenectady, eastern and southern Pennsylvania, Virginia well across the Shenandoah Valley, and the Carolinas and eastern Georgia. Beyond this region of continuous settlement were the small settled areas of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the Ohio, with the mountains intervening between them and the Atlantic area, thus giving a new and important character to the frontier. The isolation of the region increased its peculiarly American tendencies, and the need of transportation facilities to connect it with the East called out important schemes of internal improvement, which will be noted farther on. The “ West,” as a self-conscious section, began to evolve.

From decade to decade distinct advances of the frontier occurred. By the census of 1820 10 the settled area included Ohio, southern Indiana and Illinois, southeastern Missouri, and about one-half of Louisiana. This settled area had surrounded Indian areas, and the management of these tribes became an object of political concern. The frontier region of the time lay along the Great Lakes, where Astor's American Fur Company operated in the Indian trade, 11 and beyond the Mississippi,

9 Scribner's Statistical Atlas, xxxviii, pl. 13; McMaster, “Hist. of People of U. S.," i, pp. 4, 60, 61; Imlay and Filson, “ Western Territory of America" (London, 1793); Rochefoucault-Liancourt, “Travels Through the United States of North America” (London, 1799); Michaux's Journal,” in Proceedings American Philosophical Society, xxvi, No. 129; Forman, “Narrative of a Journey Down the Ohio and Mississippi in 1780-'90” (Cincinnati, 1888); Bartram, “ Travels Through North Carolina,” etc. (London, 1792); Pope, “ Tour Through the Southern and Western Territories,” etc. (Richmond, 1792); Weld, “Travels Through the States of North America (London, 1799); Baily, “ Journal of a Tour in the Unsettled States of North America, 1796–97” (London, 1856); Pennsylvania Magazine of History, July, 1886; Winsor, “Narrative and Critical History of America,” vii, pp. 491, 492, citations.

10 Scribner's Statistical Atlas, xxxix.

11 Turner, “Character and Influence of the Indian Trade in Wiscon. sin” (Johns Hopkins University Studies, Series ix), pp. 61 ff.

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where Indian traders extended their activity even to the Rocky Mountains; Florida also furnished frontier conditions. The Mississippi River region was the scene of typical frontier settlements."

The rising steam navigations on western waters, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the westward extension of cottonl+ culture added five frontier states to the Union in this period. Grund, writing in 1836, declares: “It appears then that the universal disposition of Americans to emigrate to the western wilderness, in order to enlarge their dominion over inanimate nature, is the actual result of an expansive power which is inherent in them, and which by continually agitating all classes of society is constantly throwing a large portion of the whole population on the extreme confines of the State, in order to gain space for its development. Hardly is a new State of Territory formed before the same principle manifests itself again and gives rise to a further emigration; and so is it destined to go on until a physical barrier must finally obstruct its progress.

12 Monette, “ History of the Mississippi Valley,” ii; Flint, “Travels and Residence in Mississippi,” Flint, “Geography and History of the Western States," Abridgment of Debates of Congress," vii, pp. 397, 398, 404; Holmes, Account of the U. S.”; Kingdom, “ America and the British Colonies” (London, 1820); Grund, “ Americans,” ii, chs. i, iii, vi (although writing in 1836, he treats of conditions that grew out of western advance from the era of 1820 to that time); Peck, “ Guide for Emigrants” (Boston, 1831); Darby, “ Emigrants' Guide to Western and Southwestern States and Territories "; Dana, “Geographical Sketches in the Western Country"; Kinzie, “Waubun”; Keating, Narrative of Long's Expedition "; Schoolcraft, “Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi River," " Travels in the Central Portions of the Mississippi Valley,” and “ Lead Mines of the Missouri”; Andreas, “ History of Illinois,” i, 86-99; Hurlbut, “ Chicago Antiquities ”; McKenney, “ Tour to the Lakes "; Thomas, “Travels Through the Western Country,” etc. (Auburn, N. Y., 1819).

13 Darby, “ Emigrants' Guide," pp. 272 ff; Benton, “ Abridgment of Debates," vii, p. 397.

14 De Bow's Review, iv, p. 254; xvii, p. 428. 15 Grund, " Americans," ii, p. 8.

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