While Turner is the father of U.S. frontier inquiry, Bassin compares his workwith Solov'ev, Turner's unrecognized Russian counterpart. The ways andreasons in which Turner and Solov'ev used frontier lands and experience toexplain national development are explored.
This final assessment by Hotstadter came close to ''damning" the thesis "with faint praise." If hewas somewhat less critical than he had been in the 1940s, he certainly continued to be more critical than theneoTurnerians, those whom he referred to as the ''friendly revisionists." More representative of this group is JacksonPutnam. In an article, "The Turner Thesis and the Westward Movement: A Reappraisal,'' published in 1976,' Putnam updated Billington's earlier summary of the reception and status of the thesis. More important, he alsoincluded an analysis of the thesis and a response to his critics that were so perceptive and persuasiveas to placePutnam among the leading present-day neo-Turnerians. Typical of these revisionists, he acknowledged that Turnerhad been guilty of ''gross simplification and audacious overstatement" and that his language had been too ''poetic,ambiguous and lacking in precise definition.'' As a consequence, he reported' the thesis ''eventually came underthoroughgoing assault, the fury of which occasionally came to resemble the no-holds-barred character of theattacks of Turner's frontiersmen upon their wilderness adversaries. "' Nevertheless,Putnam maintained that ''much of . . . [Turner's] presentation was still valid. . ., that his earlier essays were almost as suggestive and vital as whenhe wrote them, and that many of the contentions of his adversaries were more quaint and old-fashioned than thoseof the master himself."
The Turner Thesis: After Ninety Years it Still Lives On
"The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development." With these words, Frederick Jackson Turner laid the foundation for modern historical study of the American West and presented a "frontier thesis" that continues to influence historical thinking even today.