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Myth Of The American Frontier :: Mythology History US …
However, the authors of several of these essays not only criticize Turner for his failure to mentionsuch features or influences but also hold him responsible for their continued neglect during the more than a halfcentury since he published his frontier essays. According to Clark C. Spence, for example. ''In part, the pastneglect of the history of mining stems from the impact of the Turnerian emphasis on things political, on individualism,democracy, environmental influence, and on the pre-Appomattox era." Similarly, Sandra L. Myres suggests that, because Turner's frontiers were as devoid of women as the Great Plains were devoid of trees,'' since his''essay appeared, American high school and college students have read about the 'winning of the West' in a series ofwell-written and often exciting texts . . . [that] dismissed women as 'invisible, few in number, and not important tothe process of taming a wilderness.' " And Richard W. Etulain, in his essay,discusses several ways in which ''Turner's attitudes toward frontier societies retarded interest in western cultural history." Although this collection of essays certainly reveals the "continuing towering presence'' and ''decisive impact'' of Turner, it is most difficult tobelieve that his influence has been quite as towering and decisive as suggested by Spence, Myres, and Etulain. Toattribute to him such great and continuing influence is, in one sense quite flattering, but it also strikes one as ratherexaggerated and even unfair.
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In one of the essays they attempt to illustrate not only the use of a ' grand theory" as a form ofhistorical detection or interpretation but also the fact that historians frequently apply very different general theories or''propositions'' to an historical topic, and, thus, may present quite different perceptions of that topic. As is revealedby the title of this essay, ''Jackson's Frontier-and Turner's: History and Grand Theory,''