A fascinating exploration of American identity by one of the most influential historians and thinkers of the twentieth century. According to Frederick Jackson Turner, the distinct qualities of the American character are inseparable from the idea of the frontier. One of the nation's most influential historians, Turner sets forth his "frontier thesis" in the eight brilliant, enlightening, and provocative essays that make up his seminal work, The Frontier in American History - a book which profoundly altered the way Americans viewed themselves. Disputing the traditionally held emphasis on European cultural influences, Turner argues that the American frontier fostered self-reliance, optimism, ingenuity, individualism, restlessness, materialism, and democratic ideals - traits that collectively shaped the national character. His groundbreaking work continues to influence American culture, politics, and history more than eighty years after it was first published.