Chapter

From Spirit to System

Kerwin Lee IZlein

in Frontiers of Historical Imagination

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1997 | ISBN: 9780520204638
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520204638.003.0003
From Spirit to System

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This chapter analyzes the American frontier thesis as part of changing narrative traditions. It discusses the differences between the views of Frederick Jackson Turner, who emplotted the European occupation of America as the building of a modern democracy from wild nature, and John Dewey, who blamed many of the nation's social ills on frontier excess. The chapter also considers Merle Curti's frontier history, which epitomized the analytic turns as it carried forward the notion that American democracy was a product of American wilderness.

Keywords: American frontier thesis; narrative traditions; Frederick Jackson Turner; John Dewey; democracy; social ills; Merle Curti; American wilderness

Chapter.  29806 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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