The frontier, a boundary that marked the creation of the new American state was the borderline in time between the savagery and the time of civilization. This is a time when many of the foreign settlers were giving a chase for any profitable piece of resource that they came across. They moved from the western coast near the Atlantic Ocean through the western strip of the present USA, in search for arable land, minerals of value and other spoils they would come across. This frontier lies at the boundary of the land that stands free. By advancing along the Atlantic river, the group found settlement in the tidewater area and thus became its first settlement point. After some time, advancement commenced one more time in the realization of newer and better-resourced lands that are presently in Ohio. The frontier people went on decade after the other, occupying regions of the Great Lakes where they set up trade companies like the Astor’s Fur Company that was interested in the operations of the Indian trade.
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This paper looks into the reasons why the settlers acquired particular portions of land as frontier territory, and whether or not it would ignore pieces of land that it considered unproductive or undeveloped. The frontier seemed to major on the Indian settlement as a point of direction for guidance. They got a lot of direction from the settlements that they found already in existence. What then was their take on such land that was currently undeveloped by then?
Movement of the Frontier
By the middle of the 19th century, some of the areas of present time Eastern boundary of the Indian region like Nebraska and Kansas portrayed frontier conditions, yet further discoveries of gold in and around the Rocky mountains pushed the frontier further inland, so that its boundaries further expanded. The region of Oregon thus fell inside the border. Nevertheless, there was need to involve the eastern side of the continent with the trade that was quickly becoming a booming business. Some form of communication and transportation saw the rise of immigration and constant war by the Indian settlers. Mining camps in the region of Colorado further drove frontier life into the region. The Great Plains therefore became a frontier territory, seeing, as there was enough economic advantage in this region. In a census that was carried out in the 1890’s the superintendent was quoted saying that the settlement had become so scattered in the west that there was no longer the existence of a frontier line (Turner, p. 20).
These events prove beyond doubt that the settlers were in search of land that was of economic value. The existence of the Atlantic frontier that comprised of anglers, traders of fur, and farmers is evidence that the settlers were interested in the resources present. Another evidence of this is the fact that even when the Europeans appeared, they found the frontier settlers in place, ready to take them in battle. This would only happen if the settlers had occupied land that was once of economic value. It would have been wasteful for the two parties to engage in wars for land that was not of value.
Nevertheless, with the onset of the 19th century, when the European setters had firmly put their feet in Native American soil, further exploration of once proclaimed wasteland by the Europeans gave rise to a sudden attraction of undeveloped land. The consistent development of transportation system into these areas made certain degree of value to be placed on such lands and therefore became part of the European frontier land. First came the reshaping of land that was once seen as one that was without shape, and then in the end, arability of the land was enhanced. If the land was not found to have agricultural value, then it was tested for the possibility of its pastoral strength. Eventually, these lands were developed to becoming industrialized areas, some of which are currently cities.
European explorers thought differently of North America, as did the first settlers of the land. They knew that much of the land was not exploited effectively. They would not just do away with this kind of land, just because of what others felt about it. They realized that much of the land had portrayed loads of potential even without them being developed to any degree. In the end, these settlers expanded frontier lines to a degree that wasteland in the 19th century became of high demand. By the middle of the century, these kinds of land posed as a gambling front for settlers, and this would go on into the beginning of the 20th century.
In the beginning, settlers who made the American frontier used face value judgment to mark their boundaries of settlement. They would have to consider such challenges as the weather patterns of a certain region, the arability of the area, the commitment of their own people and the danger of being attacked by disease. Consecutively, unproductive land was identified and put aside. This would not go on for very long, with the introduction of newer and better transport and communication systems. New frontiers were created. Land, which was abandoned for more than half a century was effectively reclaimed and used for farming or as pasture for livestock.
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Turner, Fredrick. The significance of the Frontier in American History. Charleston, California: BiblioBazaar, LLC., 2008. Web.