- ''For other people of this same name, see Frederick Jackson and Frederick Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner (November 14, 1861 – March 14 1932) is widely regarded, along with Charles A. Beard, as one of the two most influential American historians of the early 20th century. He is best known for The Significance of the Frontier in American History.
Early life, education and career
Born in Portage, Wisconsin
, the son of Andrew Jackson Turner and Mary Olivia Hanford Turner, Frederick Jackson Turner graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
in 1884, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi
Fraternity. He gained his Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University
in 1890 with a thesis on the Wisconsin fur trade. As a professor of history at Wisconsin (1890–1910) and Harvard
(1910–1922), Turner trained scores of disciples who in turn dominated American history programs throughout the country. His emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories. His model of sectionalism as a composite of social forces, such as ethnicity and land ownership, gave historians the tools to use social history as the foundation of all social, economic and political developments in American history. At the American Historical Association
, he collaborated with J. Franklin Jameson
on major projects.
Turner's Frontier Thesis
Turner is remembered for his "Frontier Thesis", which he first published July 12, 1893 in a paper read in Chicago to the American Historical Association during the Chicago World's Fair. In it, he stated that the spirit and success of the United States is directly tied to the country's westward expansion. According to Turner, the forging of the unique and rugged American identity occurred at the juncture between the civilization of settlement and the savagery of wilderness. This produced a new type of citizen - one with the power to tame the wild and one upon whom the wild had conferred strength and individuality.
His essays are collected in The Significance of Sections in American History, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1933. Turner's sectionalism thesis had almost as much influence among historians as his frontier thesis. He argued that different ethno-cultural groups had distinct settlement patterns, and this revealed itself in politics, economics and society.
Marriage, family and death
Frederick Jackson Turner married Caroline Mae Sherwood in Chicago
in November 1889. They had three children: Dorothy Kinsley Turner (later Main), who lived to give them grandchildren; Jackson Allen Turner, who died in October 1899 and Mae Sherwood Turner, who died in February 1899. Frederick Jackson died in 1932 in California
where he had been a research associate at the Huntington Library
- Turner, Frederic Jackson. "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" (1893)
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. The early writings of Frederick Jackson Turner, with a list of all his works compiled by Everett E. Edwards; University of Wisconsin (Madison) Press, 1938
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. ed. "Correspondence of the French ministers to the United States, 1791-1797" in American Historical Association. Annual report ... for the year 1903. Washington, 1904.
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. "Is Sectionalism in America Dying Away?" (1908). American Journal of Sociology, 13: 661-75, in JSTOR
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. "Social Forces in American History," presidential address before the American Historical Association American Historical Review, 16: 217-33 in JSTOR
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Frontier in American History. 375 pp. New York, Henry Holt & Co (1920) at the American Studies Hypertext collection at the University of Virginia. Pulitzer prize winner.
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. The Significance of Sections in American History introduction by Max Farrand. ix, 347 pp., maps. New York, Henry Holt & Co. (1932)
- CONTENTS: I. Problems in American History, pp. 3- 21 (a reprinting from 1904. 2. The Significance of the Section in American History, pp. 22- 51 (a reprinting from 1925). 3. The Origin of Genet's Projected Attack on Louisiana and the Floridas, pp. 52- 85 (a reprinting from 1898). 4. Western State-Making in the Revolutionary Era, pp. 86-138 (a reprinting from 1895) the Revolutionary Era, pp. 86-138 (a reprinting from 1895). 5. The Policy of France toward the Mississippi Valley in the Period of Washington and Adams, pp. 139-82 (a reprinting from 1905). 6. Geographical Influences in American Political History, pp. 183-92 (a reprinting from 1914). 7. Geographical Sectionalism in American History, pp. 193- 206 (a reprinting from 1925). 8. Since the Foundation, pp. 207-34 (a reprinting from 1924). 9. The West-- 1876 and 1926, pp. 235-55 (a reprinting from 1926). 10. The Children of the Pioneers, pp. 256‐86 (a reprinting from 1926). II. Is Sectionalism in America Dying Away? pp. 287- 314 (a reprinting from 1907). 12. Sections and Nation, pp. 315-39 (a reprinting from 1922).
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. "Dear Lady": the letters of Frederick Jackson Turner and Alice Forbes Perkins Hooper, 1910-1932. Edited by Ray Allen Billington. Huntington Library, 1970
- Turner, Frederick Jackson. America's great frontiers and sections: Frederick Jackson Turner's unpublished essays edited by Wilbur R. Jacobs. University of Nebraska Press, 1965.
- Rereading Frederick Jackson Turner: "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" and other essays ed by John Mack Faragher, (1999)
- Bogue, Allan G., Frederick Jackson Turner: Strange Roads Going Down, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998, ISBN 0-08061-3039-3