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Assign each student to draw a picture depicting one scene as he or she envisions it, based on information contained in the excerpt from Frederick Jackson Turner’s essay “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” The students should write a caption to describe the event(s) in the picture.
His principal professor, Herbert Baxter Adams, viewed mankind’s development in evolutionary terms, but held that environment had no place in the equation; American institutions could be understood only as outgrowths of European “germs” that had originated among Teutonic tribes in the forests of medieval Germany. The “germ theory” explained the similarities between Europe and America, but what of the many differences?
• The class discussion, drawing, and essay may be used to assess the students’ understanding of Frederick Jackson Turner’s essay and the symbolism of the American frontier.
• The teacher will use the essay to assess the students’ ability to construct an analysis using historical evidence to support arguments.
The only historian come President, Theodore Roosevelt, wrote that the frontier created an "American Race." Manifest destiny not only greatly increased the landmass of the American republic, it effectively created the American ideal.
Without it, the United States would have been vastly different - whether this was for better or for worse is a matter of opinion.