The Frontier Thesis: Crisis in American Identity

The Frontier Thesis: Crisis in American Identity -...

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Communications 150 March 16, 1999 Announcements: There will be two review sessions after spring break. The first is Tuesday, March 16 from 7 - 8:30. The second is Friday, March 19 from 1 - 2:30. They are both in 113 Carnegie. The second exam is March 23. Review sheets were handed out. Lecture Notes: I. The Frontier Thesis: Crisis in American Identity Frederick Jackson Turner o He claimed that the disappearance of free land in the West led to a crisis in American identity o Americans identify with freedom and once all of the free land was bought they would have an identity crisis o At Turner's frontier, fact meets fiction Thomas Jefferson said that the American character was built on a respect of freedom American character was shaped by process of Western migration Most films centered around the natural life of the West vs. the pervasive natural life of the city An early western: Buffalo Bill's Wild West o Buffalo Bill was the typical cowboy - guardian of freedom o However, he would go around doing tricks for people - he became a sort of entertainment II. Leatherstocking: Frontier Archetype Leatherstocking was a character in a novel, The Leatherstocking Tales He was a product of the wilderness, noble savage, and trailblazer for the western advancement of civilization The American cowboy is drawn from this archetype The cowboy advances beyond the edge of civilization and lives among the wilderness
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III. History vs. Mythology in the Western Westerns most popular in the late '30s to early '50s The values of individual freedom were being challenged by a modern, industrial order
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2008 for the course COMM 150 taught by Professor Jordan during the Spring '99 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

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The Frontier Thesis: Crisis in American Identity -...

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