The Making of a National Identity

Daisy L. Machado

in Of Borders and Margins

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780195152234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834426 | DOI:

Series: An American Academy of Religion Book

 The Making of a National Identity

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Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis became a significant force in shaping the national identity of the U.S. The ideologies incorporated into Turner's frontier thesis were not only meant to provide a historical interpretation of how the U.S. came into being but also satisfied the national need for a “usable past.” This frontier thesis was able to transmit a series of symbols that became imbedded in the nation's self‐perception and self‐understanding: Virgin land, wilderness, land and democracy, Manifest Destiny, chosen race. Race must be understood as an important piece of this developing national identity because the idea of “purity” of race was used as a rationalization to colonize, exclude, devalue, and even exterminate the native borderlands people.

Keywords: democracy; frontier; Manifest Destiny; race; thesis; Turner; wilderness

Chapter.  10041 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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