All these ideas were contained in the essay, "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," which Turner presented as a lecture at the Columbian Exposition in Turner's point of departure for the essay was that in the published report of the federal census, it was reported that the United States no longer had a discernible frontier--a line of demarcation dividing, as they said then, "civilization" from "savagery. There are two good reasons for us to give serious attention to Turner's ideas. The first has to do with national history.
Thoughts on Historical Maps and Mapmaking
If Turner was right, then the American national character is a product of the frontier; we talk and behave the way we do because of the frontier experience. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia. Remember me. I forgot my password. Why sign up?
Comps Notes: Frederick Jackson Turner’s “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”
Create Account. Accessed 19 October In The Canadian Encyclopedia. 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. 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.
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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.
The Turner Theses
Austrian assessments of the borderland were not always so self-confident. Robert Lemon challenges the assumptions of scholars such as J.
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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.