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In these writings Turner promoted new methods in historical research, including the techniques of the newly founded social sciences, and urged his colleagues to study new topics such as immigration, urbanization, economic development, and social and cultural history.
Turner’s penetrating analyses of American history and culture were powerfully influential and changed the direction of much American historical writing.
Born in frontier Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Turner did graduate work at Johns Hopkins University under Herbert Baxter Adams.
Barr See also Frontier ; Historiography, American .
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“frontier thesis.” The single most influential interpretation of the American past, it proposed that the distinctiveness of the United States was attributable to its long history of “westering.” Despite the fame of this monocausal interpretation, as the teacher and mentor of dozens of young historians, Turner insisted on a multicausal model of history, with a recognition of the interaction of politics, economics, culture, and geography.He began to make his mark with his first professional paper, “The Significance of History” (1891), which contains the famous line “each age writes the history of the past anew with reference to the conditions uppermost in its own time.” The controversial notion that there was no fixed historical truth, and that all historical interpretation should be shaped by present concerns, would become the hallmark of the so-called “New History,” a movement that called for studies illuminating the historical development of the political and cultural controversies of the day.Turner should be counted among the “progressive historians,” though, with the political temperament of a small-town Midwesterner, his progressivism was rather timid.Awarded his doctorate in 1891, he was one of the first historians professionally trained in the United States rather than Europe.Turner began his teaching career at the University of Wisconsin in 1889.Nonetheless, the Turner thesis remained a popular albeit widely debated assessment of American development. The Genesis of the Frontier Thesis: A Study in Historical Creativity. gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).Delivered in Chicago before two hundred historians at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, a celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America, Turner's thesis discounted the then-dominant "germ theory" of American history, which argued that American political and social character evolved directly from European antecedents. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.Turner instead contended that Europeans had been transformed by the settlement of North America, a process that produced a distinct American mentality and culture far different from European precedents. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates.Turner taught at the University of Wisconsin until 1910, when he accepted an appointment to a distinguished chair of history at Harvard University.At these two institutions he helped build two of the great university history departments of the 20th century and trained many distinguished historians, including Carl Becker, Merle Curti, Herbert Bolton, and Frederick Merk, who became Turner’s successor at Harvard.