Other Stages of Early Western Growth
TURNER’S evolutionary model encompassed other varieties of natural resource use and the development of towns and industries as well as farming frontiers (see p. II above). Discussion of these other stages of early western growth has proceeded at varying rates along diverse paths. The spearheads — or first waves — of frontier exploitation have attracted contrasting interpretations. Romantic and semi-popular historians have revelled in the deeds of adventurous individuals who flourished in the wilderness. Their economic counterparts have suggested that most of these persons were often a small link in a large organised business. At the end of the frontier process the urban and commercial aspects, neglected in traditional approaches, have recently received considerable attention from the ‘new’ urban and economic historians. These different strands of research must be examined in any reassessment of the Turner thesis.
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