Fredrick jackson turners frontier thesis


Montagu, Letters and Works, The peculiarities of its social system and incongruity with west- ern European social structures rendered it a site of great interest in both Britain and America. The Balkanism that typified the Western interest in the military frontier often employed a lexis that was explicitly imperial in tone. Murray, , This imperialist lexicon was also applied, often in racial terms, as a means of Balkanizing the inhabitants of the military frontier themselves. This orientalizing attitude was also present within the Austrian military, which were responsible for administering the frontier.

Turner: The Frontier In American History

Stefan Berger and Alexei Miller, eds. Montagu, Letters and Works, — Baron W. Frederic Shoberl Philadelphia: E. Butler, , 24— It is this contradictory position that required that these people be both othered and romanticized in a way that appeared classically orientalist. There was also a more pragmatic reason than can be offered through a reading of orientalism and Balkanism for interest in the military frontier.

It represented something of a political experiment, in whose outcome the rest of Europe and the United States were greatly interested. At various points in its history the United States had its own military frontiers: first with indige- nous Americans to the west and with Canada to the north, then with Mexico to the south.

An interest in the Habsburg military frontier was driven both by its similarity to the situation in the United States, and by what the United States thought it could learn from the Habsburg example.

The British, too, were interested in the military frontier for this reason. Interest in the Habsburg military frontier was thus inspired by the unique nature of its place within Europe in a spatial and political sense. Its place right at the political, social, military, and geographical peripheries of the continent inspired a strand of Balkanism specific to the military frontier through which it could be orientalized.

It was at once Germanic, Slavic, Turkic, and even Indian. Its people were barbarous, but also the defenders of Christian civilization. If people in western Europe and the United States were guilty of Balkanism in their attitudes to southern Europe, as Maria Todorova has claimed, they were guilty of Balkanism in the extreme when it came to their attitudes to the military frontier.

It was roman- ticized, exoticized, and demonized almost to the point of farce by writers who had never once visited it. The orientalist undertone to much of what was writ- ten about the military frontier—particularly in the nineteenth century—often cascaded into an outlook that was outright imperialist in nature. This is exemplified by a schoolbook produced by Georg Christian Raff in It was the transitory space par excellence, becoming a site of the exotic within the bounds of Europe itself.

Todorova, Imagining the Balkans. Austrian assessments of the borderland were not always so self-confident. Robert Lemon challenges the assumptions of scholars such as J. This does not, however, necessarily explain the international attention that the Austrian military frontier attracted in the late nineteenth century. Extracts from the contemporary American press suggests that American sensibilities were particularly drawn to the imagined hypermasculinity of frontier soldiers. For example, in August , the New York Herald lamented the imminent dissolution of the Austrian military frontier, stating, All these men are well-armed and splendid fighters.

Now, Austria has given them up to Hungary, who is trying to arrange their affairs without their voice or consent.


However, while expressing admiration for the military prowess of the population of the frontier, American journalists continued to orientalize those residents. These growing concerns with, and interest in, the frontier found greatest voice in a body of literature in the late nineteenth century. Kafka and other writers in the monarchy did not seek to locate the orient at a far remove, in distant Asia or Africa, but rather drew on the exoticized frontier within Europe, to the east and to the south of Vienna.

New York Herald, August 24, Lemon, Imperial Messages, Quoted in ibid. If, then, we take this lens and read Der Kaiser as a journey from Vienna to the edges of the empire, it becomes apparent that the closer to the frontier Hofmannsthal takes us, the more he increases the overtones of ethnic anxiety and colonialism more gener- ally. Again, this process of othering was one that took place first in the Habsburg imagination, and only then would it translate into Habsburg policy. This is perhaps why the most vocal critics of the Habsburg orientalist imagination came from the minorities they sought to Germanize, both directly and indi- rectly through programs of education, agricultural reform, inward invest- ment, and political control.

Anton Pelinka and Dov Ronen, eds. Viennese administrative interest in the frontier regions in fact went beyond the borders of the empire; influence was also exerted indirectly in regions including Albania. What is more, his work Das Schloss was one that depicted the dislocation, alienation, and general vagueness of rural minori- ties within a bureaucratic state. Habsburg orientalism thus both informed, and was informed by, Habsburg approaches to the limits of its own empire, or to the limits of its imperial limits.

The Habsburg monarchy gained Bosnia-Herzegovina in and began to exert influence in Albania, too; the United States, too, pushed the limits of its empire. The crucial difference, of course, was that the Habsburgs lacked overseas colonies of any real significance. Franz Kafka, The Castle, trans. Habsburg oriental- ism looked to the frontier, to the limits of Europe to project its imperialist dis- course, and non-Germanophone Europeans became the subjects of a power that desperately sought—but could not have—a colonial empire. In essence, it is the cross-cultural contact inherent to the borderland that underpins the nineteenth-century interest in the military frontier.

Frederick Jackson Turner ' S Frontier Thesis

In conclusion, the Austrian-Ottoman military frontier provoked both domestic and international interest for a variety of reasons. The American interest in the Austrian frontier was also influenced by the exoticization of the borderland but was primarily grounded in the recent polit- ical history of the United States. In the decades after the American Civil War, it was expedient for the political elite of the United States to support Balkan nationalist movements as a means of legitimizing their own nationalist rheto- ric.

He has worked on a range of topics in early modern European and Atlantic history and is particularly interested in the history of European migration, colonialism, and imperialism. Related Papers.

Frontier Thesis

Introduction: The significance of the frontier in an age of transnational history. By Alex Young. The winner of an oratorical medal as an undergraduate, he also was a gifted and active public speaker. His deep, melodious voice commanded attention whether he was addressing a teachers group, an audience of alumni, or a branch of the Chautauqua movement. In these writings Turner promoted new methods in historical research, including the techniques of the newly founded social sciences, and urged his colleagues to study new topics such as immigration, urbanization, economic development, and social and cultural history.

He also commented directly on the connections he saw between the past and the present. Turner hoped that stability would replace mobility as a defining factor in the development of American society and that communities would become stronger as a result. Turner taught at the University of Wisconsin until , when he accepted an appointment to a distinguished chair of history at Harvard University.

Poor health forced his early retirement from Harvard in Turner moved to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California , where he remained as senior research associate until his death.

go site Frederick Jackson Turner. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Written By: John Faragher. See Article History. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica.

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