Early-Twentieth-Century Frontier Dramas on Broadway: by R. Wattenberg

By R. Wattenberg

Frontier dramas have been one of the hottest and winning of early-twentieth-century Broadway style performs. The lengthy runs of latest dramas not just point out the recognition of those performs but additionally let us know that those performs provided perspectives concerning the frontier that unique audiences may well and did include.

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They are simply part of the environment to which the Anglo-Saxon pioneers must adapt. 57 For Turner, the sequential triad—savagery, barbarism, and civilization—defined by Morgan is reshaped into a dyad of savagery, defined in terms of wilderness environment including Indians and their culture, and civilization, defined in terms of the white pioneer. Turner’s “frontier thesis” is rooted, then, in Darwinian social evolutionary assumptions, which present the movement from simple primitive savagery to complex civilization as unidirectional; however, in Turner’s view of the interaction of savagery and civilization, there is movement in both directions.

58 His choice of the word “disintegration” here, as well as a few pages later when he describes how “the disintegrating forces of civilization entered the wilderness,”59 suggests that there was a savage wilderness “integration” that could be and was undermined by spreading civilization. It is contact with this primeval integration that, according to Turner, most significantly influences the American character in a healthy, liberating fashion: American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier.

In this spirit, he helped to create the Boone and Crockett Club in 1888. 81 Roosevelt’s faith in the vigorous Anglo-Saxon and in the West as a training ground for heroic action manifested itself in his own cowboy adventuring as well as in his approach to the organization of his Spanish-American War volunteer regiment, the Rough Riders. The regiment consisted of twelve troops: one was known mostly for its easterners, but members of the other eleven were drawn from the knockabout Wild West. A combination of refined eastern Ivy League swells and rugged western cowboys,82 his volunteer corps represented a synthesis of civilization and savagery with emphasis on the latter.

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