Magazine September 2, 2013, Issue

Locked in at Last

(Roman Genn)
The frontier and its absence have both shaped the American imagination

For Americans who had become accustomed to pushing reflexively westward, it must have come as quite a shock to the psyche when, in 1890, in the faraway eastern city of Washington, D.C., the authors of the last U.S. Census report of the 19th century pronounced indifferently that there was no longer such a thing as a frontier line — and so, in Frederick Jackson Turner’s immortal phrase, “closed the first period of American history.”

Because, as Mark Twain quipped drily, they are no longer making land, the second period — which we might for the sake of simplicity call “post-frontier America”

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

How Nature Works

Our contemporary debates about evolution are basically an extension of the argument Christians have been having with one another since the Middle Ages, about how much autonomy God granted to ...
Politics & Policy

The Myth Maker

Lawrence of Arabia enjoys a prominent place in the mysterious and self-perpetuating realm of myth. This remarkable achievement has always depended on the impression he left of himself as both ...


Politics & Policy


A Dissent on Dissenting I write in response to Arthur Herman’s article, “Sensitive SEALs,” in the August 5 National Review. I am a former U.S. Army Special Forces officer, and I agree ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Detroit is dead and al-Qaeda is alive. ‐ A group of conservative senators, most prominently including Ted Cruz, hopes to defund Obamacare by forcing a government-shutdown fight over a so-called ...

Keep Off the Grass

A rodeo clown in Missouri has been banned from rodeo-clowning for the rest of his life because he wore an Obama mask and subjected our president to ridicule. Tough break; ...
Politics & Policy


SPRING My enemy had hatched her young, Made real the heady boasts she’d sung, And when I saw the cherished thing, I vowed it would not fly or sing. My talons tightened in its fluff. Their ...
Happy Warrior

The Blasphemy Police

In 2010, the bestselling atheist Richard Dawkins, in the “On Faith” section of the Washington Post, called the pope “a leering old villain in a frock” perfectly suited to “the ...


The Latest