The frontier is a major part of American history. It is a huge factor in our identity in the U.S.
From passing of the Homestead Act in May 1962 in the middle of the American Civil War until around the turn-of-the-century, the frontier was wide open.
What was the appeal?
You could leave the crowded, rodent infested tenements of the East Coast for lands of unlimited opportunities.
Get in a covered wagon, head across the plains, stake a claim, work the land, and make as good a future for you and your family as you wanted. Farm the land for 5 years and it’s yours.
Price for admission?
Lots of hard work, drive, perseverance, and initiative.
You had to get a covered wagon and outfit it. Travel a long time making sure the horses were fed and watered every day. Make sure you have enough water and food to care for your family. There weren’t any restaurants or grocery stores along the way.
Once you arrived and staked out a claim there’s a tremendous amount of hard work. Digging a hole in the side of the hill. Cutting sod into brick shapes to build a sod house for protection from the elements.
Only then could you break the soil, which means getting rid of all of the wild grass on the surface so you can work in the dirt.
Planting crops, tilling and working them while they grow. Harvesting. Carrying the food to market. Storing food so your family has enough to eat through the winter.
To start with you had to have enough money and food to carry you and your family to the first harvest.
Persevering through adverse weather and crop failures. Coping with loneliness.
The land may have been at no charge but the price of admission was steep. Very steep.
At about the turn-of-the-century, give or take a decade, the frontier was considered closed.
It as been closed for over a century.
The frontier in America is again open.
An ongoing focus of my writing here will examine the bright future that exists in America and around the world. It is so bright we need sunglasses.
I’ve been wanting to start this series for a long time. Seems like every day I see an article or three that show my point.
The direction I plan to go?
- The frontier experience – so I can compare it to today.
Then describe the frontiers I see:
- The oil patch
- Space exploration
The opportunities are tremendous. The price of admission is still steep. Very steep.
On some frontiers you actually need money. But only in a few. If you don’t have money, there are still exciting frontiers wide open for you to enter.
The price may be low but the cost is high.