Back when the frontier existed, women had very limited options for independence. So, if they wanted to travel, they had to be accompanied by a man and they had to be going to their destination. Because of this, women offered their labor so that they could get what they needed. They earned the money they needed by doing laundry or cooking, sometimes they even resorted to becoming prostitutes. Like women, the non-white races also occupied the lower class, these were Indians, African-Americans, Mexicans, and the Mongolians. These races did the unskilled labor that the white man did not want to do. This included working in mines and working on the railroad generally as construction and manual labor people. Here, it will be discussed how the roles of women and other races were treated and what they did.
In his essay, Fredrick Jackson Turner talks about how this movement was significant in American history. Much of what we see today originated from this Great West movement and the colonization of these areas. These people were able to move into these areas because there was free land and there were more settlements that were starting to appear (Turner 2008).
Fowler states that the frontier was considered to be the farthest west that settlements went and this was something that people wanted to expand out to. Historians talk about this movement starting in 1607 when Jamestown was created (Fowler, 2005). Colonization was considered officially over in 1989, the U.S. census bureau found that frontiers didn't exist any longer based off of the definition of what they are. It is said that the frontier expansion truly shaped America and helped make society the way that it is today.
Understanding the Role of Racial Groups and Women in the Frontier
Frontier life is not easy, and to get through this life people had to have roles and responsibilities that may be outside of the standard gender roles that we are used to. For the most part, women did domestic chores. You will find that in the frontier two things were evident: male domination and white supremacy. In this time, white men could go and do what they wanted, however other racial groups and women were not that lucky. With values like this, it was hard for women to move forward and it was even harder for people that were not white to get anywhere, their roles were defined and these were the roles that they were stuck with (Keys 2010).
It was hard to move out of these roles because society was not at that point yet, so people had to deal with where they were placed and work to stay above water with hopes that changes would be made soon. Keyes discusses that because of this these other races and women were really left vulnerable and at risk because they were unable to provide or protect themselves (Keys 2010).
In the frontier society, these other races and women were vital in providing to get rid of white supremacy and to help increase feminism. There were many women that Turner discusses that were able to help to expand this and make sure that people were able to have more civilized behavior that was fairer (Turner, 2008). Women worked hard to try to get rid of these prejudices and to help to make their role larger and more important. This, however, goes contrary to men, who had a very broad life. It was actually because of the Civil War that women were able to step up and have that larger role that they were hoping for. These people had to step up and do more so that they could survive when people were out fighting.
Since these men were gone, people started to have homosexual tendencies and they did things like gambling. Keyes discusses in his papers, women were more prone to sexual attacks. Since this started, women started to do public awareness campaigns so that they were able to help get rid of this stereotype (Keyes, 2010). These areas were basically a free for all, so what people did in this case was push to promote laws that would help to make drinking something that was illegal, and to help restrict the access that people had to women and girls by men that were single and by those that were traveling through the area. It was honestly really dangerous for women to be in these areas because they could get hurt or raped.
It is for this reason that women were able to play a large role in the frontier and to help do this. Feminists that were out there worked hard to give women the roles that they wanted and to help people get the information that they need. It is true that they significantly helped people get the roles that they wanted and to expand what they did in these societies. Hall talks about how it can be inferred that these women played a huge role in setting up social movements for social reform.
For racial stereotypes, there were a lot of issues too. If you weren't white and you were living in the frontier, you were treated differently. It took a long time for these groups to get what they deserved in terms of freedom. So, as time moved, these slaves were freed and they started to get the education that they needed and get the support that they wanted. In states like Arizona, Texas, and California, they placed large limitations on these freedoms of non-whites (Keyes, 2010).
Other states used laws that were already in place to place punishments on states that we reoffering things like education to these people. It was generally explicitly laid out where these people were allowed to be and where they were allowed to go to school, if they even were. Keyes discusses how in 1868, the movement to provide education to African-Americans was started, even though it was just a small movement. Keyes even talks about how some states like California, even had it outlined so that African-Americans could not attend schools that white people were at, these laws would continue for a long period of time .
It is interesting to know that the people that weren't white actually played a large role in the civil war and they helped to get their rights because of this. With the ending of the Civil War, they helped get rights to attend schools for higher education and this was spread beyond just people that were white. It was actually the Buffalo Soldiers that were able to help maintain the social order of the frontier and shape how the future was going to be. Keyes article talks about how these African-Americans that were soldiers were even able to get educational benefits through the army because of the work that they did. (Keyes 2010).
Beyond this, the Buffalo Soldiers also made huge strides in helping to start road construction and to help set up different communication systems like telegraphs and that sort of thing. These soldiers also helped people create the reservations for the Indians too. They were integral in helping to move the frontiers forward and this is something that was really important in this time period (Keyes 2010).
At the end of the civil war, the frontier was the place to be for freedom. In the south, there was no equality or freedom, blacks wanted that and the whites did not. But, if they went to the frontier they could take advantage of that. The reconstruction era was a period in the U.S. that was extremely diverse and this happen between 1865 and 1877. This was done in the south under the reign of Lincoln and Johnson's presidencies. They were…