An Introduction to Frederick Jackson Turner's The Significance Of The Frontier In American History

Is the modern American identity an outgrowth of European civilization, or is it a unique result of westward expansion? Frederick Jackson Turner's The Significance of the Frontier in American History raises an important question about the origins of American industrialism and way of life. High schoolers learn more about Turner's essay with a short video detailing the main points of the text.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Include before a study of Manifest Destiny
  • Connect a lesson between language arts and social studies to read Turner's work and apply it to historical context
  • Have viewers write an argument essay in which they agree or disagree with Turner's thesis, using modern examples as anecdotes for either side of the argument
Classroom Considerations

  • The video does not mention the effect of American settlers on the Native American tribes and its implications for American history; consider augmenting your instruction with a research activity about this missing detail
Pros

  • Condenses a complex concept into an understandable video
  • Inspires conversation and discussion in social studies
Cons

  • None