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The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people—to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life.Said Calhoun in 1817, “We are great, and rapidly—I was about to say fearfully—growing!
In this advance, the frontier is the outer edge of the wave—the meeting point between savagery and civilization.
Much has been written about the frontier from the point of view of border warfare and the chase, but as a field for the serious study of the economist and the historian it has been neglected.
They have concentrated instead on the structure of specific communities, and though they have taught us much about the people who lived in villages such as Berwick, they have generally ignored the social and economic ties that connected colonists to men and women who happened to dwell in other places..
Some historians have recently expressed considerable concern over the alleged fragmentation of early American history.
It is premature to assess what effect these meetings will have on the study of Anglo-American history, but to date few eighteenth-century scholars have shown much interest in producing the kind of grand synthesis that the conference planners apparently envisioned.
One should note that two historians have launched multivolume studies of the British empire in America.
In the discussion of its extent, its westward movement, etc., it can not, therefore, any longer have a place in the census reports.” This brief official statement marks the closing of a great historic movement.
Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West.
They note that the people working in this field have abandoned not only the “imperial” approach but also other frameworks capable of incorporating these proliferating local studies into a larger, coherent interpretation of colonial society.
In an attempt to promote at least middle-level generalizations, Jack P.