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The Frontier of America

Essay by   •  October 28, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  8,086 Words (33 Pages)  •  1,971 Views

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::::Just a note, I wrote this my Junior Year in high school, so don't expect anything amazing. Please feel free to use, edit, tweak in any way you want. Just make sure you document :D::::

The United States of America is a perfect name for the country. It is after all many states united. But to have states you must have land for those states. Before those stats become land they must be a frontier, or as defined by Webster's Dictionary, "A region that forms the margin of settled or developed territory." The United States has had a frontier of endless land, which has been settled throughout many years. The Frederick Jackson Turner thesis on the frontier states:

Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree

the history of the colonization of the Great West.

The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession,

and the advance of American settlement westward explain

American development.

Expansion of the United States can be traced from the first of those who settled in Jamestown. It all began with a simple idea, a faster route to India. Yet instead of going around Africa someone proposed to just sail west. Yet when these people sailed west they had not reached India. They found North America. They had made the first frontier of America, the colonial frontier. Other groups came to this vast land with its seeming endless frontier. This frontier had multiple challenges, such as Indians, survival, and means of trading for use in mercantilism. The Pilgrims, at Plymouth, followed the Jamestown adventurers. Later the Puritans settled into what today is Boston and Salem. The Frontier, which was ever expanding, and always existent in the United States, grew immensely after the revolutionary war. In the Treaty of Paris the United States received the area known as the North West Territory. It was from the Mississippi River to the present day boundary, which were the Appalachian Mountains as was stated in the Proclamation Line of 1763. This virtually doubled the size of the United States. This land had already had many settlers, and was a booming frontier. The territory was going to be divided into about 5 states, each of which would not have slavery. The next addition to the United States came at a very prosperous time, when Jefferson was in office. He received the Louisiana Purchase. This was his greatest achievement. It came buy a stroke of luck. Napoleon was still in rule in France, and he needed more money. He looked to land he already had conquered. Napoleon had control of the land east of the Mississippi River. Jefferson sends diplomats to France to discuss how to acquire the land that Napoleon had control of. Napoleon saw this as a moneymaking opportunity to help the French Empire. He offered 14.5 million dollars to pay for the entire territory. Jefferson gladly paid. He had just doubled the size of the United States, and made himself a hero to all farmers, as the Louisiana Territory was almost all farmland. Not only that, but it gave the United States complete control of the Mississippi River. Though the Great Plains was called the great desert they changed the course of the United States. The next frontier came from a southern neighbor, Mexico. The Texas Annexation was given to the United States by Mexico after Moses Austin in search of more farmland asked permission from the ruler. More people followed his lead into this new land, east Texas. After the population in this area surpassed the number of Mexicans, the Mexican government demanded that growth was to be stopped, to abolish slavery, and to convert to catholic. These demands we ignored and a quasi war started and shortly ended with the annexation of Texas. Later the succession New Mexico Territory occurred after the Mexican War and Oregon Territory came into the union 1846. At that time, the frontier was complete. The frontier can be divided into four groups, Northwest Territory, Louisiana Territory, Mexican Territory, and Oregon Territory.

When the settlers first came to America they found a land of seeming less endless opportunities. They had endless amounts of land, food, and materials; the first frontier had one thing, for sure, adventure and danger. After the land had been slightly settled and most of the dangers, mainly Indians, were to have thought to pass the colonization began. The frontier was always expanding as more and more people relocated to the more interior land of the new land. The tidewater was the common name for those lands that were close to the sea. The frontier began as being nearly 5 miles into the woods. As time passed and more people arrived the frontier expanded. Though the frontier never really was over 100 miles from the shore of the Atlantic Ocean it was still the frontier nevertheless.

The colonial frontier began in 1607 with the settling of Jamestown. This proved to be something new, and challenging, considering almost half of the settlers died with in the first year. The frontier was harsh, and during the, "Starving times" it proved that fact. The Indians had killed all the game in the area, so that the British in fear of dying would leave. They stayed; they used the "Head right" system in Jamestown. The "Head right" system is where any paying passenger of a ship receives 50 acres of land upon arrival. This was done to work the earth, and to create a cash crop so that the economy of the new world could survive, it also enticed more people to come (Billington The Westward Movement in the United States, 14). In 1632 a second colony, Maryland, was formed. They followed the precedence that Jamestown had created, and they improved upon it greatly. They perfected it so well that there was no "Starving time"(Billington The Westward Movement in the United States, 14). The system was not perfect; it's just that not as many people died. Maryland went in as deep in the new land as the "Fall line," or where the rivers could not be navigable because of rapids.

By the 1660's the Tidewater was fully flourished, it was full of small farms, with usually a cash crop such as tobacco, or indigo. The frontier of this time was literally at the "Fall line." On the "Fall line" there were fur traders, who would explore even further the unknown to trade furs, they were called "Border barons." These were the type of people who helped in Bacon's Rebellion. This was what really showed people how important the frontier really was. Due to lack of assistance of protection from the Tidewater colonies Nathaniel Bacon got himself voted leader in the

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