When the frontier closed what effect did this have on American society?

2 Answers
May 1, 2017

It created frustration and fueled the want for more imperialism


The frontier was officially closed in 1890, it fueled the imperialist furor of the late 1890s since a new frontier had to be found to quench the thirst for new exploration.

The frontier was turned into a myth during the twentieth century as cinema and hollywood retook this theme in their countless movies. It was used to justify the imperialism of the Cold War.

May 2, 2017

The closing of the Frontier caused the American individualism to turn inward.


Turner Fredrick Jackson proposed in 1893 that the frontier was instrumental in the formation of American democracy, self sufficiency, ingenuity and individualism. Quoted in 1921 Frontier in American History .

The closing of the frontier cause a reduction in individualism. The federal government gained more control over the direction of the nation. On the frontier people had to depend on themselves and their neighbors. With the closing of the frontier people had more reliance on assistance of government.

Individualism had been the hallmark of American democracy. If people did not like what was happening in their community they could move western and find space. An extreme example was the Western movement of the church of the Latter Day Saints. When their religious practices were not accepted in the East they moved to Utah where they could be free to exercise their religion.

Another effect was the turning inward in terms of the environment.
William Temple Hornady. pointed the near extinction of the Bison
US Environmental Policy and Politics page 128,129. The closing of the frontier caused American to want to take care of the environment. There was no new frontier, no new vast forests to explore. What America had was seen as all that America would have and it needed to be taken care of.

An example of this was President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt saw himself as a westerner. He became a leader in the environmental movement, starting the National Park system. Roosevelt also was involved in the spreading of democracy to other nations around the world. As opportunity for individual democracy decreased in America, there was a desire to make democracy available to people in other nations.

Some people falsely accuse the motivation to spread democracy to Imperialism. The idea of setting up American colonies never had the support of the American people. The Rough Riders (Westerners) under Teddy Roosevelt wanted to free the Cubans from Spanish rule , not to set up an American colony.