Southwestern Historical Quarterly
They, nevertheless, raise questions of the greatest moment and
timeliness, for a people also can be paralyzed by the trammels of
bureaucracy and centralism. It seems pertinent to ask, therefore,
as these essayists do: Can the peculiar virtues of any segment of
the population survive the fierce pressures of standardization that
leave the stamp MADE IN AMERICA? Is the nation destined to
reach a degree of centralization in which the states are mere ves-
tigial remains of a by-gone constitutional era? These are indeed
issues that must be faced if the whole nature of the Republic is
not to be altered-and this reviewer believes with Editor Kilpat-
rick, for the worse.
CHARLES P. ROLAND
The Frontier in Perspective. Edited by Walker D. Wyman and
Clifton B. Kroeber. Madison (The University of Wisconsin
Press), 1957. Pp. xx+300. $5.50.
On July 12, 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered an ad-
dress to the American Historical Association entitled The Signifi-
cance of the Frontier in American History. In this paper Turner
advanced the theory that the existence of vast amounts of free
lands, coupled with the movement to the frontier to possess this
land, had been the basis for American development. He then
calmly announced that there were no more free lands. There was
something akin to a panic among the historians, some accepting
it, some rejecting it, some modifying it. It precipitated a great
debate which has continued to the present. At all meetings since
that day long ago the so-called Turner thesis has been debated pro
and con. Most historians write about it; all of them talk about it.
It is kept so constantly before everyone that a little doggerel seems
justified: Oh, Turner, Turner, Turner, please excuse the slur, Oh
why, why, why, did you write that thesis fur?
The Frontier in Perspective edited by Wyman and Kroeber is
another book on the frontier in which thirteen essayists wrote,
presumably, with the Turner thesis in mind, in order to lay the
many frontiers against the Turner doctrine and thus test its
validity. These men wrote, it seems, without first agreeing what
the Turner thesis was and what is meant by the frontier. As a
matter of fact, it is likely that they could not agree on the mean-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed May 23, 2013.