American Studies - The Frontier Heritage

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A presentation regarding a topic on the frontier experience of the late Americans. Includes the impact of the American frontier, self-reliance and rugged individualists, American macho heroes, …

A presentation regarding a topic on the frontier experience of the late Americans. Includes the impact of the American frontier, self-reliance and rugged individualists, American macho heroes, inventiveness and the "can-do" spirit, and equality of opportunity.

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  • 1. The Frontier Heritage by Achmadyanta Bagus P. 125110100111035 American Studies
  • 2. The impact of the American frontier Self-reliance and the rugged individualists American macho heroes Inventiveness and the “can-do” spirit Equality of opportunity
  • 3. Despite the fact that frontier happened about a century ago, it is still an obvious evidence in the US until today. Frontier had become important aspect in shaping American values. Frontier experience had been depicted in form of movies and TV shows, featuring a cowboy fighting Indian. Until this very day, most Americans become aware of the darker side of the settlement, later known as the time when Americans Indians were mistreated. The Impact of the American Frontier
  • 4. Frontier experience began around 1600s until 1890 when the settlement happened. Most frontier usually found in the western part of the country, where both land and life were full of ore and rather primitive. Successfully settling one frontier after another, they had moved across the continent for 2,700 miles – which made them think that it was their destiny to control the land. Later on, Native Americans were given some parts of the land (reservations) though government later broke their promise which created a misery for most Indians.
  • 5. Most Americans are still inspired by the frontier as the value in its original and purest form. Examples of its value: Hard working attitude Competitive race for success Gold rush Daily life on the frontier was usually less dramatic, although many stories of frontier adventure depicted life in the hard way.
  • 6. Individualism, self-reliance, and equality of opportunity had become the most important attribute within the frontier heritage in America. Americans tend to view it as the model of free individual because of less control over individual on the frontier. Frontier still serves as the essential part for a nostalgic view of the early Unite States and people in the Western part still hold these beliefs.
  • 7. Even though most frontier were free of society’s rules, most of them denied many of society’s comforts and conveniences. It encouraged them to be self-reliant. - constructed their own houses - hunting for food - tended their own gardens - made their own outifts and household items Self-reliance and the Rugged Individualists
  • 8. Self-reliant later become a model of the basic American male hero with rugged individualism. Means that they were physically tough and severely accostumed by the condition of frontier life. Most of these men were described as follows: - skilled with guns or other weapons - need no help from others - appears as lonely, unmarried man - strong enough to protect himself
  • 9. Types of heroic rugged individualist Man against the wilderness (before the Civil War of the 1860s) A man who was capable of mastering the harsh challenges of the wilderness Mainly admired as a survivor and conqueror instead of a fighter Man against man (lasted from 1860s until the 1890s) Fought for control of the remaining lands Commonly known as “the Wild West” Primarily known as a fighter and a typical defender of good against evil
  • 10. However, it was later the Wild West hero which had more impact on the idea of heroism. In fact, the Wild West hero even inspired numerous western movies.
  • 11. Wild West hero has helped shape the American idea of “macho” or male strength. Mostly had the ability to show their strength through physical violence. The model of macho hero was later used in numerous setting; such as soldiers in battle, tough detectives, or policeman fighting crimes. American Macho Heroes
  • 12. These heroes are capable of fighting with their fist or guns, or even both. Macho male heroes still dominated the American entertainment, both movies and TV, as well as in video games.
  • 13. However, the image of rugged individualist has been criticized for being “too simple”. It overlook the importance of self-reliance as well as the role played by cooperation in the frontier era. Second, it was also mostly biased to masculine figure, thus failed to look at the existence of pioneer women and their traits. It was also emphasized the idea that violence and gun-usage are able to solve problems. Guns were still used, although not as much as portrayed in the movies where violence were increased gradually.
  • 14. There are a lot of concern regarding the impact of the violence in movies on young people. Many young people have become used to violence. The problem has escalated dramatically - high school shooting - inner cities gang members who possess guns Ironically, the problem was spread to a peaceful suburbs area.
  • 15. Americans have the right to “bear arms” which is granted by the constitution. Recently, there are about 200 milion guns in the US, mostly own by those who enjoys hunting or gun collector. Gun ownership increased after the 9/11 incident, which up to 50% of the US households. It reflects the American tendency to take the law into their own hands as Americans believe that police cannot protect them well. It is still debateable whether gun ownership should be limited or not.
  • 16. Self-reliance has encouraged the inventiveness as frontier people were constantly facing new problems and situations. Many people from other countries were impressed by their ability to invent something new. The American pioneers’ inventive skills enabled them to solve a problem beyond the abilities of common men and women. Inventiveness and the “Can-do” Spirit
  • 17. It had finally spread throughout the population, thus becoming a national character trait. Later, it led to American’s “can-do” spirit, believing that a problem can be solved easily. Finally, it gave Americans a sense of optimism about themselves and their country, then becoming a source of Americans’ pride and inspiration.
  • 18. The frontier acted as an expression of equality of opportunity in its purest form. There were a tendency where people were treating each other on the equal level. Frontiers were mostly known on their saying: “What’s above the ground is more important than what’s beneath the ground”. It offered a new beginning for those who failed; either in business, politics, or even love, to advance themselves to the west for success and a better life. There was always a need for workers on the frontier. Equality of Opportunity
  • 19. The gap between the rich and the poor was not as great as those in the more settle regions. People lived, dressed, and acted alike, they also tend to mix socially as there were never inferior/superior act in the society. The American frontier may not be the key to American development, but it is certainly one major factor as it strengthen the American ideals of individual freedom, self-reliance, and equality of opportunity. As the country expanded, these frontier values gradually became American national values.
  • 20. THANK YOU!