The expansion meant progress and it implemented the idea of progress into the minds of the new people. As Thomas Jefferson noted, the permanent moving forward of the boundaries and the idea of growth and multiplication enhanced the feeling of unfailing progress: "However our present interests may restrain us within our limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits, and cover the whole northern, if not southern, continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar forms, and by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface." (Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, 1970, p. 746) Turner was the one who has actually laid the basis for a theory of the frontier in American history in the nineteenth century. Before him however, Jefferson, long before he came to be the president of the states, emphasized the idea that the frontier movements were necessary to preserve the purity of the American nation through a preservation of the agricultural habits of the country: "Our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries, so long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there are vacant lands in America"(the Frontier and the West, 2001). Turner showed however that Jefferson's intuition was not exactly right, precisely because the idea of continuous expansion emphasized the need for social and political progress.
Jefferson assumed that, like ancient Rome before, and Europe in the late eighteenth century, all societies were doomed to violent collapse when they turned from their agrarian origins. Urbanization and dependence on manufacturers created gross inequities in wealth and living standards; this in turn would only lead to political corruption, anarchy, and eventual collapse." (the Frontier and the West, 2001) This westward movement obviously impacted literature by inspiring the minds of the poets with the idea of freedom and absolute natural virginity.
American literature was thus born in the period of the New Republic out of the struggle for a cultural independence from the sway of the old European continent.
Donald McQuade, Robert Atwan et all. (1999) Harper American Literature, Single Volume Edition. Third Edition. New York: Harper.
Peterson, Merrill D. 1970. Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation. New York: Signet
Smith, Greg. (2001) "Supernatural Ambiguity and Possibility in Irving's…
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