American Places II: Frontier Nation


American Places II: Frontier Nation





  • Answer all parts of the following essay question
  • Support your analyses with relevant historical evidence from assigned course texts


The myth of the American frontier “claims the land for the European settler as a God given right. It also excludes non-whites from the story of how the United States came to be what it is, and when it does mention non-whites (Native Americans in particular), it treats them as an obstacle to the advance of civilization. Hence, it is not surprising that Americans struggle with the frontier myth legacy.”  — Cynara Medina


  • Write an essay in critical response to the claims made in the statement quoted above.
  • Is Medina correct in her characterizations of the frontier myth?
  • What explanations can you provide for the frontier myth’s North American origins, growth and popularity from the 1600s through the 1800s?
  • What in your analysis has been what Medina calls the “legacy” of this myth?
  • To what extent do you agree with her claim that Americans “struggle” with it?
  • Should we? Do you?


Incorporate evidence into your analysis from course readings, including from at least three of the following:


  • Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative (1685)
  • President Jackson’s Speech on Indian Removal (1839)
  • John O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, The Significance of the Frontier (1893)


Incorporate evidence into your analysis from course films, including from at least two of the following:


  • We Shall Remain – After the Mayflower
  • Ghost Dance
  • Buffalo Bill
  • Hostiles (2017; Scott Cooper, director)



Exam Length: Four (4) full pages minimum. Six (6) full pages maximum.

Format: typed (12 point font, double spaced one inch margins); separate cover page with full course information; separate Works Cited page; pages numbered and stapled together.

Date and Time Due: Wednesday May 9th no later than 1:35 PM


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