Frederick Jackson Turner (November 14, 1861 – March 14, 1932) was an American historian in the early 20th century, based at the University of Wisconsin until 1910, and then at Harvard. He trained many PhDs who came to occupy prominent places in the history profession. He promoted interdisciplinary and quantitative methods, often with a focus on the Midwest. He is best known for his essay "The Significance of the Frontier in American History", whose ideas formed the Frontier Thesis. He argued that the moving western frontier shaped American democracy and the American character from the colonial era until 1890. He is also known for his theories of geographical sectionalism. In recent years historians and academics have argued strenuously over Turner's work; all agree that the Frontier Thesis has had an enormous impact on historical scholarship and the American mind.
Born in Portage, Wisconsin, the son of Andrew Jackson Turner and Mary Olivia Hanford Turner, Turner grew up in a middle-class family. His father was active in Republican politics, an investor in the railroad, and was a newspaper editor and publisher. His mother taught school. Turner was very much influenced by the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poet known for his focus on nature; so too was Turner influenced by scientists such as Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and Julian Huxley, and the development of Cartography. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin–Madison) in 1884, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity...
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