Frontier

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  • The idea of the frontier in U.S. history is both a fluid physical space between powerful groups and a recurring process of areas of contact and conflict. Frederick Jackson Turner's famous 1893 frontier thesis inspired generations to view the frontier as the edge of civilization pushing against the wilderness by bringing order through European American settlement. This view was premised on now discredited notions of racial and cultural superiority that left out many who shaped frontiers, such as Native Americans. Frontiers are more appropriately defined as places where no one group or government has claimed complete political or cultural control over others and where contact between groups often leads to conflict for control. Frontiers have thus been opening and closing throughout U.S. history.

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