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The American frontier experience is unique, as is each of the others. The uniqueness of each was produced by the particular pattern of interaction of three factors: 1 the environment upon which the frontier process operated, 2 the character of the peoples who were involved in the frontier experience, and 3 the particular times in which the experience unfolded. The interaction of these three factors continues to provide the ecological basis for political life within the new societies that were created in each case.

There is a close connection between the movements of the American frontier, the generational rhythm of American life, and the migratory rhythm of the American people. In many respects, the dynamics of the frontier process played out on the American landscape over the past years provide the link between the spatial and temporal dimensions of American civil society. If each generation has had to respond to challenges confronting it, the challenges themselves are products of the country's continuing frontier experience.

In American history, the continuing frontier has been the crucial measure, if not the decisive factor, in the progression of generations and centuries and in the constant movement of the American people. At the same time, it has served as the source of natural renewal that has kept American society dynamic and open and the stimulus for changes in the federal system.

The driving force behind American society is the continuing American frontier, the effort on the part of Americans to come to grips with untamed elements of nature and, by taming them, to reorganize their society. The continuing frontier is the source of renewal which sustains the United States as a "new society. Consequently, it has generated new political concerns revolving around the accommodation of the challenges and opportunities resulting from it. Frederick Jackson Turner , the great historian of the American frontier, put it thus. Behind institutions, behind constitutional forms and modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life and shape them to meet changing conditions.

The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people -- to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life American development has exhibited not merely advance along a single line, but a return to primitive conditions on a continually advancing frontier line, and a new development for that area.

American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history of this great nation is not the Atlantic coast, it is the great West He would be a rash prophet who should assert that the expansive character of American lie has now entirely ceased. Movement has been its dominant fact, and, unless this training has no effect upon a people, the American energy will continually demand a wider field for its exercise The stubborn American environment is there with its imperious summons to accepts its conditions: the inherited ways of doing things are also there; and yet, in spite of environment, and in spite of custom, each frontier did indeed furnish a new field of opportunity, a gate of escape from the bondage of the past; and freshness, and confidence, and scorn of older society, impatience of its restraints and its ideas, and indifference to its lessons, have accompanied the frontier.

Application of the frontier concept to contemporary American life is not simply a dramatic way to describe change in dynamic society. A frontier is something much more fundamental than that. It is a multi-dimensional wilderness or primitive "area," which invites human entry for purposes of "taming" it for "civilization. The frontier involves extensive new organization of the uses of the land, uses so new that they are essentially unprecedented but so much a part of the process in question that they will be applied across the length and breadth of the continent during the course of frontier expansion.

Frontier activities are those devoted to the exploration of that which was previously unknown and the development of that which was previously "wild" or undeveloped. There must be an expanding, or growth, economy based on the application of existing technologies in new communities or new technologies in existing communities.

The frontier movement, though manifesting itself as a single "whole," actually coalesces a number of different "frontiers" both geographic and functional. These exist simultaneously and successively, each with its own goals, interests, character, and pioneers, yet all tied together by their common link to the central goals, interests, and character of the large frontier of which they are parts. There must be the opportunity to grow, change, risk, develop and explore within the framework of the frontier, thereby increasing freedom from past restraints and demanding courageous action.

There must be reasonably free access to the frontier sector of society for all who want it; and migration must be a major factor in gaining that access. A frontier situation generates a psychological orientation toward the frontier on the part of the people engaged in conquering it, endowing them with the "frontier spirit. The "feedback" from the frontier leads to the continuous creation of new opportunities on many levels of society, including new occupations to be filled by people who have the skills to do so regardless of such factors as family background, social class, or personal influence, thus contributing to the maintenance or extension of equality in the social order.

The frontier feedback must influence the total social structure to the point where society as a whole is significantly remade.

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The direct manifestation of the frontier can be found in every section of the country at some time usually sequentially and are visible in a substantial number of localities which either have, or are themselves, frontier zones. These ten criteria can be found recurring in every stage of the American frontier. Because each stage is more complex than its predecessor, the manifestation of the criteria are also more complex. Moreover, they obviously have differential impacts at different times and are never as fully realized as the model might imply. It is not likely that everyone or even the majority in a frontier society will be involved in realizing them or even be committed to their realization.

In any society, the frontier sector is a relatively small one and the frontier men occupying it are relatively few in number. But a frontier society is a perennially "emergent society," growing and changing, marked by the tone set by the frontier sector and its pioneers. The original and classic frontier was, of course, the land frontier opened by the first British and Northern European settlers of America in the early 17th century. The land frontier or, more properly, the rural-land frontier, was the first frontier in every state and section of the United States as American moved progressively westward.

The rural-land frontier persisted as a major force though not the only frontier on the American scene until its passing at the close of World War I , when the extended settlement of virgin land anywhere in the country virtually ceased. As the classic American frontier, it has become the model for all subsequent frontier situations. The dominant characteristics of the rural-land frontier were the preoccupations of a predominantly rural America with the settlement, development, and political organization of the land itself through the establishment of a civil society based on agricultural pursuits.

The cities which emerged in that period were, from the first, important institutions in American society developed to serve this rural-land frontier. Their primary function was to engage in "agribusiness," serving as commercial, social, intellectual, and political centers for agricultural regions; and, secondarily, to serve as workshops supplying the increasing number of manufactured "necessities" required by the farmer.

All then frontier criteria were substantially fulfilled on the classic rural-land frontier. In the first place, there was obviously the land, a wilderness to be settled, and tamed for a wide variety of new uses. Exploration of unknown territories and their subsequent settlement was the essence of the frontier process. The people who came to explore or tame the land were conscious of their involvement in a great task, no matter how they defined it; they had the "frontier spirit. During the history of the rural-land frontier, excepting only temporary periods of depression and recession, the American economy was an expanding one, growing at what would be considered a phenomenal rate.

The overall land frontier combined several very specific frontiers, e. It is hardly necessary to delineate the role that various forms of risk played in the conquest of the land frontier, whether the risk of the eastern capitalist building a railroad or the risk of a sodbuster trying to create a farm on the prairie. Action was, of course, the basic requirement and the major emphasis of the frontier "way of life. And freedom and equality were concommitants of risk, action, and courage since the courage to take risks by acting invariably led to freedom and, on the whole, promoted social equality as well.

There was a freedom to do all this out at the end of settlement, or at the limits of previous human activity, where greater equality of condition was the general rule. Indeed, society's greatest rewards went to those who made use of that freedom though obviously only to a few of them in any number of ways. Generally speaking, access to the frontier was unlimited, except insofar as government imposed limits equally on everyone.

It simply involved a willingness to migrate westward. Though this was not entirely true in practice, one of the major tasks of politics in the days of the land frontier was to keep making the adjustments necessary to insure a reasonable degree of equal access. Of course, not everyone "made it" on the rural-land frontier.

There were failures, both individual and communal as reflected in the many ghost towns that still dot the American landscape -- though some made people rich in their heyday. Just as the frontier was open to the virtuous, so also was it open to the unscrupulous who saw it as an opportunity to "make a killing," often in quite literal ways. Thus, among the many casualties of the frontier, the most notable, and tragic were the Indians or Native Americans. In it is estimated that there were approximately 1,, Indians in what is now the United States.


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By they were being referred to as "the vanishing Americans" because warfare, disease and starvation had reduced their population to about , Since that time, the Indian population has increased rapidly, reaching 1,, identified Native Americans by In , nearly , were enrolled in their respective tribal reservations. Likewise, buffalo were slaughtered in huge numbers, trees were indiscriminately felled, and lands were worn out by improper cultivation. However, the necessarily seamy side of the frontier should not be overly dramatized, just as the virtuous side should not be overly romanticized.

Both are part of the bundle of frontier images as well as tensions which have affected the course of American life. Turner described the epoch of the land frontier as the period when settlement of the land was the most important factor shaping American life and democracy. He associated both the form of American civilization and its social and political functions with the peculiar set of challenges produced by the existence of the frontier. Accordingly, he viewed American institutions as adaptations to the changes experienced by a growing people whose expansion took place in an apparently open-ended arena.

Contrasting the blessings of open-ended expansion with the problem of trying to expand in clearly limited space, like Europe, Turner concluded that democratic institutions are born and are able to take root in an open-ended frontier where the same "pie" need not be divided and redivided through internecine struggle, but continues to grow so that it can potentially provide enough for all comers.

The openness, moreover, meant the absence of a need to battle an entrenched feudal class with controlling interests in existing lands, wealth and political arrangements. The "elbow room" available on the frontier presented opportunities for individual and social advancement, wealth-getting and political experimentation. The establishment of new communities and new enterprises tended to involve larger numbers of ordinary people in the decision-making and management aspects of politics and economics, thereby reinforcing grass-roots political action as well as individual self-reliance and self-confidence.

Furthermore, the images of the frontier -- partly factual and partly fanciful -- held by Americans had a substantial psychological impact on American feelings of progress, mobility, optimism, and freedom. The grand images of the frontier and the eternal lure of a "second change" had become so compelling that the closing of the rural-land frontier was, for a time, greeted with dismay and not a little fear that the dynamism of America would also run down. As Franklin D.

Roosevelt remarked in "Our last frontier has long since been reached and there is practically no more free land There is no safety valve in the form of a western prairie to which those thrown out of work by the eastern machines can go for a new start. Even though many of Turner's specific hypotheses about the influence of the frontier on American life have since been revised to take into account new evidence provided by more detailed research including his own and that of his students , the main thrust of his conceptualizing remains a valid and useful tool for understanding American life. Turner's frontier was but one manifestation of a greater frontier which transcends the year settlement of the lands of North America.

The phenomena that made the land frontier a distinctive human experience have recurred in essentially similar, if progressively more complex, forms in that the American experience experience to lead to the opening of new frontiers. The striking and patterned reappearance of certain elements originally associated with the classic land frontier at every stage of American development, including the present one, strongly suggests that the continuing frontier is a major force promoting and directing American social development, economic change, and the political responses to both.

The rural-land frontier profoundly affected the development of American society, both in the frontier zone and in the hinterland, by keeping American society in flux, rendering certain categories of privilege obsolete, providing the means whereby American society could continue to grow and change, and offering the promise of progress and a "second chance. Perhaps its greatest success in this regard is the manner in which it gave rise to the urban-industrial frontier out of its own accomplishments, setting of off the chain reaction that the enabled one frontier to breed another.

The second American frontier was the urban-industrial frontier, which opened along the Atlantic coast after the War of and predominated in the greater Northeast after , as the rural-land frontier moved westward. The urban-industrial frontier was to spread across the continent by the end of the century, directly manifesting itself in the still dominant greater Northeastern industrial heartland stretching from southern New Hampshire to beyond Lake Michigan were already clear.

The essential characteristics of the urban-industrial frontier were to be most intensely expressed in this northeastern-midwestern belt. From the early to mid-twentieth century, these same characteristics were to find modified expression in specific cities and subregions of the great South and greater West. The primary characteristic of the urban-industrial frontier was the development of the industrial city as the major form of organized land use. New cities were established and old ones expanded, not merely as service centers for rural areas, but as independent centers of manufacturing, opportunity, capital and wealth accumulation, and social innovation.

This new industrial frontier stimulated the development of intensive urban concentrations in the latter two-thirds of the 19th century and first third of the 20th, as it transformed the United States into an industrialized nation. The urban frontier began the urbanization of American society before it became recognizable as a major frontier manifestation in its own right. There has been a growing migration to urban areas at least since the eighteenth century.

Since , the year of the first census, the rate in only one decade, between and , before the emergence of the urban frontier as a force to be reckoned with. After , the rate of urban growth accelerated while the rate of rural growth began to decline. When the urban frontier came into its own, the city became the center of American life even when city dwellers still represented a small minority of the total population.

Virtually every city was taken in hand by its "boosters," who fervently desired to enlarge its size and position as a metropolitan center, to make it a bigger and supposedly grander metropolis than any other city ever, and, in the process, to glamorize urban living. By , the urban frontier had become the dominant frontier in the East and the city had become the vanguard of the land frontier in the West. In general, the period between and was the "heroic age" for the foundation, incorporation, and growth of what are now the nation's largest cities, just as it was the heroic age for the conquest of the last land frontier.

Indeed, the two phenomena went hand in hand. This overlapping of frontiers occurred at a time when the shape of the United States was being crystallized. It is significant that the bulk of the nation's population growth in the past two generations has taken place in the metropolitan areas surrounding the cities created in that era. During this period when the distinctive American urban pattern took root, the largest cities in the United States were, with one or two exceptions, no bigger in population than the middle size cities of today. These cities grew really large only after when the land frontier had become secondary to the urban frontier which had become the primary source of individual opportunity and social development.

In the years between the Civil War and the turn of the century, the combined influence of the two frontiers stimulated a process of "natural selection" which transformed some of those cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco into national and world centers while limiting others equally as old to lesser frontiers. As in the case of the land frontier, the opening and progress of the urban frontier led to great changes in American life in a manner which substantially met the ten conditions of the frontier thesis.

It involved extensive new organization in the uses of the land through the development of industrial cities with concentrated urban populations as the dominant from of social and economic organization in American life. The assault upon nature was transformed from a relatively simple matter of turning wilderness into productive land, usually agricultural, into a continuous innovative effort to exploit natural phenomena steam, electricity or extract and re-form raw materials coal, iron in unprecedented way.

In place of the land explorer, the scientific innovator, so well typified by Thomas Edison , became the source of new discoveries and the trailblazer into the unknown, while the industrial entrepreneur and the factory worker replaced the commercial entrepreneur and the agriculturalist as the pioneers in the development of the discoveries of the inventor-explorer. This, of course, had its price.

Some of the successful entrepreneurs were justifiably referred to as "robber barons. Aristotle's ancient warnings about the ill-effects of wealth getting were fully evident by the turn of the 20th century. Meanwhile, cities teemed with poor immigrants crowded into squalid tenements and sweatshops working long hours at low wages. Even before the Civil War, for example, the New York City house occupied by George Washington during his first years as President has been reduced to a crowded tenement.

The urban-industrial frontier also saw the rise of urban political bosses -- men like George Washington Plunkitt of New York who "seen" their "opportunities" and "took 'em. This was also the period of the emergence of the organizational society in the United States as people sought to create new bonds of association to replace older, organic bonds of family and community to serve a more mobile and complex society. This was reflected in the organization of labor unions, political parties, professional associations, large and small corporations, free public school systems and libraries, self-help organizations and philanthropic foundations, conservationist and other "do-gooder" associations, civic and ethnic clubs, not to speak of Protestant churches, Catholic parishes and Jewish synagogues.

It was also reflected in the emergence of a civil service system accompanied by growing government bureaucracies. This organizational activity was primarily a consequence of the strife and flux of the urban-industrial frontier. It was necessary to develop organizational strength during this period in order to take advantage of the urban-industrial revolution. Despite frequent corruption and periodic depressions, the nation's economy continued to expand at an even more rapid rate, past the "take-off" period described by W.

Rostow and through the period of rapid industrialization with its corresponding increase in national wealth. Cities grew up not only to produce ever more sophisticated agricultural implements but also the machine tools needed to make the former. The railroad, itself a revolutionary instrument in transportation technology, created over revolutions in the patterns of settlement on both frontiers.

These, in turn, led to the emergence of new specialized functional frontiers textiles, steel, food processing or reorientations of old ones transportation, mining, merchandising , plus new geographic ones.

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The urban frontier provided new opportunities for making fortunes, for getting away from home, for taking financial and personal risks, and for achievements based on the willingness to act. There also existed the same kind of freedom to engage in these enterprises previously associated with the land frontier, both for the entrepreneur interested in the development of a new product and a new market and for the "man in the street" interested in new forms of earning a livelihood.

The same "boom or bust" spirit, sense of boosterism, and feeling of pioneering found among the pioneers of the land frontier could be found among the developers of the industrial cities on the urban frontier. The popular literature of the day reflects this quite clearly. As on the classic land frontier, talent remained more important than either family background or inherited money, so access to the challenges and benefits of the urban frontier remained reasonably free.

This access was extended broadly as new occupations developed at a rapid rate with openings for people on all social levels. The new occupations couple with the professionalization of old ones served to break down developing inequalities in the agricultural sector. What was required was migration to the city, whether from the American countryside or from the Old World. As in the case of the land frontier, where the promise of the frontier did not appear to be materializing as a matter of course, seekers of the promise took political action to rectify matters.

Despite the tendencies of the new industrialism to promote large fortunes almost invariably made by entrepreneurs from humble backgrounds , the forces of the urban frontier still operated to promote a rough equality of condition for the majority by destroying many of the established inequalities of the past.

The coming of urbanization transformed the social structure of American life, moving first the most energetic and ultimately the majority of the nation's population into the cities where they had to modify aspects of the agrarian outlook in an effort to meet the problems of high density living in a complex, highly organized society. It also changed the nation's demographic base by adding a polyglot population of Catholics and Jews from all over Europe to a previously overwhelmingly Protestant Anglo-Saxon base. Industrialization, with its introduction of recurring technological obsolescence, introduced a level of continuing change unheard of in any earlier society.

The history of the urban frontier in the United States appears to envelope two contradictory trends. On one hand, the urban frontier brought about the urbanization of American society. On the other hand, even as the rate of urbanization began to accelerate, a counter, almost anti-urban, trend began to develop as well, a trend that would not become dominant until four generations later, in the s when the physical setting of American society had become thoroughly urbanized. Americans moved to the cities with seeming reluctance.

Only in , when the urban frontier was entering its highest stage of development, did the numbers of urban places in the United States exceed 1, and the urban population exceed one third of the total population. Not until after was one quarter of the nation's total population living in cities of over 50, The urban population did not exceed the rural population until , when the urban frontier was already passing the peak of its influence.

That same year, the total population in cities of , and over came to exceed the total population in all smaller urban places. The age of the big city had seemingly arrived. However, no sooner did the big city become the apparent embodiment of the American style of life than it began to be replaced by a less citified style. The upward trend in the growth of big cities ended during the Depression, giving way to the development of medium size and smaller cities within large and medium metropolitan areas as a new embodiment of American urban life and a major aspect of the Third American frontier.

By , the trend toward big city living had been reversed and the number of people living in cities of over , had declined to less than the number of people living in smaller urban places. By , only 25 percent of the total population in the United States lived in urban places of more than , population, the lowest figure since and less than the percentage living in rural areas.

The percentage of population living in cities of over one million, which had peaked in , had declined sharply since then and was below the level by By the new trend was even sharper, with the percentage dropping below that of All this occurred despite the increasing metropolitanization of the nation's population. By , 6 percent of the nation's total population lived in the Census Bureau-defined Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Although these SMSAs occupy only about 11 percent of the nation's land area, their population increased by By , fully The positive yet reluctant response of most Americans to urbanize reflects a basic desire on their part to have their cake and eat it too.

They want to have the economic and social advantages of urbanization, which they value for essentially hedonistic reasons, while preserving the erstwhile "rural" amenities of life -- both physical and social -- which they value for essentially moral and aesthetic reasons. The expansion of cities continued as long as city life was able to offer most of the amenities of "rural" living, as well as the economic, social, and cultural advantages of urban life, to those who were in a position to determine the city's growth.

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Throughout the 19th century, many newly settled suburbs and smaller cities were annexed to already large cities because their residents, or those holding power locally, felt reasonably confident that loss of their suburbs' independent political status would not mean an end to their suburban style of life. Not only did large cities continue to grow larger but small cities still aspired to become great metropolitan centers.

City leaders were infected with the idea that "bigger is better" and that large organizations were more efficient and businesslike. The full impact of big city life in its less attractive aspects -- crowding, apartment living, tenement slums, governmental remoteness, and lack of such natural amenities as clean air, grass, and trees -- had not become sufficiently apparent to the majority of the residents in their cities, so had evoked no negative response to the idea of indefinite city growth. In the population of New York City increased by some two million and its land area jumped from 40 to square miles when Manhattan the original New York City was joined with Brooklyn -- then the fourth largest city in the U.

The truth of the matter was that, before , big cities in the United States had not yet become big enough to evoke these negative reactions, except in a few isolated cases along the eastern seaboard. This is not to say that many industrial cities did not have extensive tenement sections before , but even in them, the majority of the socially and politically articulate population could still live in private or semi-private homes along tree-lined streets. Tenement living remained the preserve of newly arrived immigrants who as yet had little or no voice in civic affairs and little means to escape the tenements to which they were, in effect, confined.

There came a point in the development of most of the larger cities, however, when even the politically articulate city-dwellers found it difficult to maintain their semi-urban style of life. Even enlargement of the city limits came to mean the enlargement of the city's problems without any reasonable recompense.

At the same time, several other factors coalesced to encourage metropolitanization in place of simple urbanization. As maintenance of even the simpler rural-style amenities began to cost more money within the large cities, the wealthier city-dwellers began to seek new residences outside the city limits.

The cities themselves began to run up against increased difficulties in their attempts to annex new areas, coming up against already existing cities which, while being suburbanized socially and economically, desired to retain their political independence in order to better maintain their distinctive character. It had become apparent that annexation to the great cities was tantamount to absorption into a citified environment with little or no possibility to control the extent of citification.

Hence neither old residents nor new settlers fleeing the big city were willing to be brought into its embrace. Annexation, which had been relatively easy under the law in most cases, was made more difficult as the small cities on the fringes of the giants went to the legislatures with their demands for self-preservation. In fact, as these fringe area cities began to attract settlers from the central city, they frequently began to annex vacant land themselves, often in small and even medium size cities within the larger metropolitan regions that were in the process of formation.

Simultaneously, improved transportation technology made it possible for more people to move out of the great cities into surrounding area, while retaining jobs within the cities they left. This movement, begun in the days of the railroads and streetcars, was intensified with the development of the automobile and the construction of road suitable for heavy motor traffic.

At the same time, the previously deprived groups living in the substandard areas of the large cities prospered sufficiently to seek alternatives to their relatively poor living conditions, while their offspring acquired the American taste for a semi-urban environment. Following the "old tenement trial" 16 to the suburbs, they began to move out to a new metropolitan frontier where it became possible to live in the same style that earlier prestigious groups had endowed with considerable status.

Moreover, as the movement to the metropolis accelerated in the country as a whole, many rural residents moved directly into the suburban fringes of the major cities, preferring them over city living from the first. However, it was not until the close of World War II that the metropolitan frontier came into its own when the pressures to leave the great cities which had been building up through the Depression and war years burst their bounds. Thus, between and the population of central cities in metropolitan areas grew by 6. The great migration to the suburbs was simply one aspect of the new metropolitan frontier.

The urban-industrial frontier lost its primacy in the Great Depression. With the completion of the nation's basic urbanization and industrialization, the complex of opportunities needed for frontier-style development temporarily disappeared. Urbanizing and industrializing trends did persist in regions until then on the peripheries of the urban-industrial frontier, just as pioneering on the land frontier has continued in isolated areas. However, the opportunity to foster the continuous reconstruction of the social order associated with the frontier was no longer available through simple urbanization and industrialization.

So, after a brief hiatus due to the Depression and World War II, the third great manifestation of the American frontier began to unfold. Its reappearance as the metropolitan-technological frontier of science, suburbia, and synthetics led to the emergence of new versions of old frontier situations. As in the case of the land and urban frontiers, the metropolitan frontier is most immediately a local phenomenon that has spread within and across these sections in a generally east-west direction to become manifest nationwide. Or will it become "someone else's century?

Turner argued that the availability of the western frontier had affected both developments at home and America's attitudes towards the world at large: "The most significant thing about the American frontier is, that it lies at the hither edge of free land" [ 19 ].

The existence of the frontier significantly lessened pressures for either intensive development at home or for overseas colonial expansion and other foreign adventures. It may only be a coincidence, but it is interesting to note that, with the exception of the railroads and the associated iron and steel industries, not until after the closing of the American western frontier in did the U.

As Turner highlighted, unlike in Europe or Asia, our frontier line was largely in sparsely populated and thinly developed regions, not on the guarded border between nations already contending over power, resources, or prestige [ 20 ]. The American frontier was then seen as new "open space" to be settled, to be exploited, or in which to be far from government's presence in everyday life. To many Americans of the time, it was not about carving territory from within existing national boundaries; it was about opportunity, not contention among Great Powers as with colonial adventures in Africa and Asia.

Americans, in short, have historically understood that life is not a zero sum game and that opportunities can expand. In this sense too, our present situation on the cyberfrontier resembles that western frontier experience: it is less about reallocating existing customers and sharing existing markets than about creating entirely new products, services, and industries - and opportunities as well [ 21 ]. The "West" was a place to get away from failure and from too much control, by social conventions or by government, and it is crucial to recognize the sense of freedom that the frontier represented, not only to Americans but to those drawn from afar to settle the America frontier.

Great struggles would be fought over governments' ability to extend control, in fact as opposed to in law, and these arguments also mirror many present-day issues of contention over legal regimes and regulation of this new space [ 22 ]. Finally, perhaps the most important implication of the frontier analogy is to reorient our thinking away from the "newness" of specific information technologies or the particularism of a sweeping "Third Wave Revolution," [ 23 ] and to refocus our attention on the continuing crucial social and political themes that are intimately tied to our historical development.

This recognition of the deeper historical roots will have important consequences for the choices we make about American society. The frontier metaphor provides a powerful framework to relate the developing features of an information-dominated society to the historical antecedents; our frontier forefathers had also " It is not coincidental that the tremendous impacts from a newly opening economic frontier began at the same time as the Soviet Union collapsed and the bipolar post-World War II structure began to disintegrate.

For most of the 20th century, the United States had come to rely increasingly on large institutions and federal authority. The convergence of scale and centralization stemmed from four distinct factors - two domestic and two international. First, the process of industrialization at home tended to favor large-scale enterprises for their economies of scale; and these powerful private actors, in turn, provoked the rise of offsetting governmental power [ 25 ].

As local government institutions were found to be either too inefficient or too corrupt to control powerful private entities such as monopolies and trusts, people first looked to the states and finally to the national government for protection [ 26 ]. Second, critical domestic needs - clearly recognized during the Great Depression of the s as national rather than private responsibilities - called forth government intervention that increasingly shifted authority from local and state levels and concentrated those government powers in federal hands.

Together with a growing distaste for racial segregation that had given "states' rights" a bad name by the s and 60s, the desire to meet our pressing domestic national needs had amplified the federal role to a very broad interpretation of federal responsibilities. Third, foreign developments also contributed to the growth and concentration of federal powers. The escalating demands of national defense in the face of the successive challenges of fascism and communism continued trends begun in World War I, giving government extraordinary powers and reinforcing the federal government's increasingly dominant role as it provided for the common defense [ 27 ].

Finally, dollar crises in the s, energy shocks in the s, massive trade deficits in the s, amplified by a concern about the "hollowing out of American industry," all increased American anxieties about our international economic competitiveness. These concerns - coupled with a belief that the pinnacle of industrial development demanded bigness, collective enterprise, and government intervention for successful commercial competition - increased interest in the dirigiste model provided by Japan and others.

The result was an emphasis on the combination of bigness and government power that was inimical both to the outlook of the Framers in and to the individualistic values that had supported our Western expansion. With the Soviet Union's implosion, these pressures finally eased. The focus of attention shifted away from international relations, and the more historically typical American concentration on domestic concerns reasserted itself. Witness the domestic focus of the presidential election campaign and the Clinton slogan, "It's the economy, stupid.

At the same time, the conservative movement's desires to reduce the size and role of government, which had begun to bear fruit with the Reagan Administration's cuts to domestic programs, received new life as claims for government primacy could no longer be protected by the aura of national security. Moreover, the dismal performance of many large corporations, with collapsing businesses and massive layoffs in the s and early s, called into question whether large commercial bureaucracies were any better [ 28 ].

The rapid growth of evangelical and fundamentalist sects shows that organized religion faces the same problems of lack of faith in large institutions and established authority. Finally, whatever had been our grudging, but perceptually necessary, reliance on these large organizations, there was buried deep in our collective psyche a strong suspicion not only of the competency, but also the good intentions of large bureaucratic institutions. The Progressives' distrust of private bigness and their war against the "trusts" reflected deeply held American suspicions of all concentrated power - and these feelings still exist.

This is a sentiment, on the whole, that was not and still is not shared by European or Asian governments nor our neighbors to the North , or their major economic institutions [ 29 ]. Both looked at the individual, increasingly flattened into anonymity by organizational "bigness. The outlaw must rely on himself for protection rather than the rule of law since he exists outside of the legal framework.


  1. Branches (The Bethesda Wars Book 4)!
  2. Virtual Civil Society: The New Frontier of Social Capital?;
  3. Zoobooks Polar Bears;
  4. Introduction.
  5. Napalm Sandwich.
  6. The medieval European knight errant, the Japanese ronin, and our own western figures, as diverse as Billy the Kid and Shane, share deep thematic roots. In nearly all of these cases, right, truth, and justice arise from an intrinsic, internal set of values held by an individual rather than from sovereign authority, collective institutions, or procedural safeguards. The recurrence of this conceit suggests a deep-seated lack of trust in institutions and rulers and a faith in value of individual ingenuity and enterprise.

    Thus, it should not be surprising that with the passing of the Cold War and its tidy, almost Manichean division of the world, and creation of a continuing threat, traditional American perspectives on government's proper limited role have re-emerged with new strength. Traits, such as initiative and innovation, previously focused by demands of our superpower competition with the Soviets, once again turned to pursue private gain rather than national survival - exactly as the immense technical base developed for national defense became "excessed" and available for commercial exploitation.

    Today, the successive waves of new information technology generations mirror the episodic stages of our earlier westward expansion; the "high-tech start-ups" that populate each of them represent our new frontier settlements. One perceptive governor recently commented, "Our goal is to create new pioneers. The pioneers of the last century followed the railroads. The new ones follow the Internet" [ 30 ]. Our current conflicted feelings about "hackers and crackers" are probably not much different from those felt by westerners about gunslingers and quick-draw artists; each became iconic figures for their time.

    If we close our eyes and imagine, it is not hard to see and hear in today's e-commerce battles images and echoes of miners against claim jumpers, cattlemen versus rustlers, and farmers versus "free range" ranchers - it's only that intellectual property has replaced cattle and silver as the currency of the frontier [ 31 ].

    Microsoft fighting America Online over "buddy lists" and instant messaging surely resembles earlier battles over barbed wired closing free range. What is striking is how comments made about the earlier American frontier and those who settled it ring true about the new cyberfrontier. These similarities may illuminate the reappearance of "cowboy" values and fondness for Remington sculptures among the cyber-entrepreneur set. In reviewing Po Bronson's most recent book about "the curious culture of Silicon Valley," one commentator recently said, " In discussing the Valley's venture capitalists, another writer said, "It doesn't matter how many times you strike out, so long as you hit some out of the park They want people who have revolutionary visions, who truly believe they can transform entire industries overnight Others might view such people as demented or delusional or megalomaniacal.

    Venture capitalists see them as attractive investment opportunities" [ 33 ]. We ought not be surprised that this new frontier, like the west, is again giving rise to a new "net culture" - that is, a distinctive set of behaviors: from dress, to language, to attitudes, to patterns of action, to political perspectives, and especially to values. As Turner noted, "The 'West,' as a self-conscious section [ i.

    Frontiers: Civil Society and Nature | Territorial Masquerades

    Denver during the silver mining boom was not the genteel Boston of the s; indeed, Denver of that period probably had much more in common spiritually with San Jose of today. And these behaviors and the attraction of the new culture are likely to be as important as any products produced in this new territory; especially important will be the values it fosters. The new cyber- or net-culture, often exhibited in archetypal fashion in Silicon Valley, strongly suggests a reversion to our earlier frontier experience, rather than continuing a pattern of evolution from the frontier through industrial to an ever more sophisticated and protected post-industrial world.

    Part of the American genius has been the ability to adapt or co-evolve its governmental and socioeconomic forms to changing circumstances, not necessarily to carry over and enforce legacy laws or regulations that no longer fit the new circumstances. We can see this tension clearly in conflicting views among economists over the continuing relevance and meaning of "antitrust and monopoly" in the New Economy. Another part has been to accept the interplay between and the cyclically changing leadership of public and private interests. Settlement in the frontier areas - whether Ohio, South Dakota, or Oklahoma - followed broad patterns that rewarded individual effort and enshrined decision-making at the local level.

    Homesteads could be had for hard work. Voting for adult white males was tied to residency not to birth or to ownership of property; and taxes, school districting, and road maintenance were all tied to the smallest geopolitical unit, the township. The frontier experience shaped a view of government's role that was more focused on facilitation than on enforcement; and it should not be surprising if the frontier values, emphasizing individualism and self-determination, lean in that direction.

    Of particular importance, therefore, may be the lessons that can be drawn from our frontier experience concerning the process of developing an appropriate government role and codifying a suitable legal regime. While "hardy pioneers" may have populated the frontier, government's contribution to creating the necessary infrastructure had been crucial.

    Government financed exploration of the new territories; it paid for mapping of the lands and navigable waters; it negotiated treaties with both other colonial powers and Indian nations; it provided military protection; it made grants of land to railroads and settlers alike, and it established and enforced a legal regime. But these were enablers for private initiative and enterprise to undertake settlement, not the cause itself of settlement. Cyberspace similarly rests on an enormous and complex infrastructure put in place by a combination of government and private actions - from new information technologies that provide the physical underpinnings to policy, legal, tax, intellectual, and regulatory frameworks that enable contesting claimants to adjudicate conflicting equities.

    And in both cases, government contributed substantially to making settlement of the frontier possible and to encouraging Americans to venture forth. But these important government activities should not overwhelm the appreciation of the large role played by individuals and private enterprise on the American frontier, in contrast to many other colonial ventures elsewhere.

    Settling the American frontier was a matter of private choice, as were decisions about moving on. Americans were far freer to choose whether to venture forth, where to settle, how to get there, and how to support themselves than any almost other frontier society in history. For the most part - and in contrast to, say, Australia's development in roughly the same period - settlement of the American frontier did not demand forced transport or military conscription.

    Going west was largely a matter of choice, as was staying. Even many who worked under conditions that we would now consider unfair - the treatment of the Chinese by the railroads, for example - still had chosen migration to the New World as a more attractive alternative to realities and inequities at home. As a result of different historical approaches to exploiting opportunity, we should take care to understand what these differences portend for perspectives on and desired outcomes from future development of this new technological frontier compared with many other countries.

    Americans wanted the government to help them settle the new territories; they did not want government to decide where they should go. The frontier spirit encouraged action within broadly-agreed upon boundaries - not seeking permission. And when the pioneers settled the land, they wanted to make the rules and enforce them, not have a far-away government impose laws over them; the statehood movements throughout the west reflected the demand for self-rule.

    This factor of personal choice in determining who went to the frontier is crucial to understanding its pattern of development and its impacts on the nation as a whole.

    Shop with confidence

    One implication of individual choice is that the American frontier from the Colonial period onward was peopled through a process of self-selection. This self-selection, acting like a centrifuge, resulted in concentrating certain character traits, thus amplifying the frontier tendencies of individualism, independence, and self-determination.

    As historian Mildred Campbell observed now more than 30 years ago, migration selects for the ambitious and the entrepreneurial. It is likely that this amplifying process contributed substantially to the intensity of feeling and experience, the enthusiasm and exhilaration of setting forth with a group of like-minded pioneers on a grand adventure. The cyberfrontier shares this characteristic of choice with the west.

    Therefore, it should not be surprising to find these same processes of concentration and amplification at work in the self-selected population that has first embarked out on this new cyberfrontier - the "early adopters," as they are known. This self-selection process is one important aspect of what makes a frontier special. People have no choice about existing in a "Space Age" or an "Information Age;" it will wash over and around them, whether or not they choose to participate.

    But active participation in a frontier experience is a matter of choice; the frontier draws those who have made a conscious decision to explore new territory, whether physical, conceptual, or virtual. When the changes are extreme or widespread, entirely new cultures can develop that go beyond merely incremental changes to old forms [ 34 ]. One only has to think about the dramatic changes in business practices and social etiquette caused by the widespread proliferation of the telephone to perceive the creation of a new culture and the need for appropriate new institutional arrangements [ 35 ].

    In similar fashion, the fast-paced adoption of e-mail by both businesses and consumers over the past decade is now triggering a rapid evolution of new cultural norms that are appropriate to this new medium. Indeed, such major changes in environmental or technological conditions usually spur new patterns of social organization that in turn demand new cultural features, e. This process goes beyond learning how to use new tools to the more encompassing issue of "social construction" in the face of new environmental or technological conditions - that is, the matrix of social, economic, and political considerations that influence how we respond as the challenge of adaptation is accepted, as new technology is developed, and for what purposes it is applied.

    Importantly, America has historically been more welcoming and less afraid of such major cultural shifts than most societies. This focus on cultural evolution emphasizes that the processes of societal adaptation to a new environment or technology are crucial for developing ways to address the difficult choices among values and equities that are in tension. On the American frontier, these competing equities were seen, for example, in conflicts between ranchers who wanted freedom to graze cattle freely on open range versus farmers who wanted to protect their planted fields with fences.

    On the cyberfrontier, there are fundamental differences in views between those who want freedom to disseminate ideas and information including encryption, pornography, and intellectual property and those who want tight controls over and protection for many types of information.

    Other conflicts include strongly divergent views over government versus private control of initiative and innovation. Both evolution and process imply a progressively achieved outcome rather than simply a pre-defined end-state or result that can be accomplished all at once. This factor suggests that it may well be important to recognize in what stage we are in this evolutionary process in order to understand the best way to proceed on deciding institutional and governance issues. For just as the conflicts on the western frontier took time to resolve, and the resolution was dependent on the stage of development, we need to be sensitive to the fact that our current situation will continue to evolve.

    Solutions appropriate to current conditions may not necessarily be appropriate to tomorrow's stage of development. As pioneers extended the American frontier into uncharted and dangerous areas particularly where Army forts did not exist for protection , it was common to witness a three-stage progression in the development of communities from mere collections of individual settlers.

    Frontiers - Histories of Civil Society and Nature by Michael R. Redcli

    In the first stage, as early settlers established their individual homesteads, each family was largely responsible for its own subsistence and protection. During this stage, settlers were often isolated from each other and individual self-defense by families was the norm since no organized, or outside, means of assistance or protection existed.

    In the second stage, clusters of population were created with the arrival of more settler families. Along with denser settlements, a sense of community developed. As trust increased through the development of personal relationships, a collective responsibility for reciprocal assistance and protection was accepted by most members of the settlement.

    Furthermore, it is worth stressing that we began our national existence with a militia-based military force and depended, until only very recently, on citizen-soldiers, not professionals, to fight our wars. This characteristic American reliance on the ordinary citizen to perform important public functions is also well captured by the notions of the colonial Minutemen or Western posses - in each case a collective duty to participate actively in protection of the entire community.

    The American notion of "civil society" - voluntary, shared, collective institutions and arrangements - as an alternate locus of responsibility, as well as authority and capability, sets us apart from those societies that either depend upon family and clan ties or, especially, upon governments for ameliorative activities. Few people on the frontier expected much immediate assistance from the government. If American "civil society" was not born on the frontier, it certainly grew up there. Many early commentators, including Alexis de Tocqueville, saw "association" among its citizens as one of the distinctive qualities of the United States.

    Besides the permanent associations which are established by law under the names of townships, cities, and counties, a vast number of others are formed and maintained by the agency of private individuals. The citizen of the United States is taught from infancy to rely upon his own exertions in order to resist the evils and the difficulties of life; he looks upon the social authority with an eye of mistrust and anxiety, and he claims its assistance only when he is unable to do without it In the United States associations are established to promote the public safety, commerce, industry, morality, and religion.

    There is no end which the human will despairs of attaining through the combined power of individuals united into a society" [ 38 ]. It is worth highlighting that the American Constitution gives very few powers to the federal government - originally limited to the 17 specific areas listed in Article I, Section 8, plus whatever was necessary and proper for carrying them out - and reserves to "the people" all others not specifically delegated.

    The principle, that it can exercise only the power granted to it, would seem too apparent to have required to be enforced by all those arguments, which its enlightened friends, while it was depending before the people, found it necessary to urge. That principle is now universally admitted" [ 35 ]. More recently, this critical principle was again restated by a former Solicitor General, "The national government has only those powers that the Constitution assigns to it" [ 40 ].

    And as the Economist noted in contrasting American with Canadian attitudes, "Americans [are] innately suspicious of government" [ 41 ]. There are clearly views from the current cyberfrontier that mirror earlier suspicions of government intentions and ask little more than to be left alone. You are not welcome among us.

    You have no sovereignty where we gather Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project" [ 42 ]. As a result of the diminished sense of government authority and, in many cases, competency, there are currently substantial difficulties in defining the most appropriate federal government role in this new environment, even with respect to its traditionally recognized mandate for national security [ 43 ]. This has shifted considerably from the Cold War view when, at least within the then traditionally understood context of national security, the federal government clearly had such a mandate.

    Today, however, that mandate has been significantly diluted, given both the disappearance of the Manichean threat and the very substantial involvement of private entities in providing a wide range of critical national security services. Therefore, the federal authority is substantially less clear. The federal government is not accorded either overt authority over or explicit responsibility for protection of most critical national infrastructures - although we recognize they constitute essential national security resources - but it is important to understand, at the same time, that the federal government is likely to be held accountable for any major disruption.

    This combination of antithetical views creates an unusually complex terrain over which national information policy must navigate. And as a result of these crucial changes in our national attitudes, defining appropriate roles for both public and private entities is extraordinarily complicated. As discussed previously, our western frontier analogy suggests a broad spectrum of governance forms and institutional structures that could be adopted as paradigms for the new cyberfrontier.

    Each carries significant implications for patterns of further development and governance. How appropriate each may be is to some degree conditioned on one's assessment of where the new frontier stands on that evolutionary development path. These forms range from: 1 leaving protective measures in individual hands as a matter of retaining personal responsibility individual self-defense ; to 2 accepting the responsibility for protecting the community's interests and retaining the authority in the community's hands collective self-defense ; to 3 shifting the authority for community regulation to the government formally delegated authority.

    While many outside the cyber-community argue for more government intervention and control over this new frontier, most members of this new frontier community would prefer only limited and very judicious intrusion by government, especially as most believe that few outside this frontier understand its distinctive characteristics - in particular its rapid rate of change.

    Thus, whether we accept as most appropriate choice for our form of governance the post-industrial or frontier analogy is an important decision. A proper appraisal of our national security outlook is an important element in appreciating the American prospect. Recognizing the immense opportunity presented by this new frontier should confirm that, unlike our fears during the Cold War, we are on the "right side of history.

    As Abraham Lincoln said, " If the cyberfrontier is indeed " It is important to remember that for most of our history, national security implied defense of our borders and frontier territory, not interventions abroad. This meant primarily defense against physical attack by external military forces, although during the Cold War prevention of ideological infection and subversion became an additional element of concern.

    Certainly after the War of , the United States faced no serious threat to its territorial integrity, but security on its moving western frontier was of constant concern. Not until the Spanish-American War did the United States extend its domain beyond its continental borders and engage in "foreign wars.

    However, from the time of our colonial occupation of the Philippines in through the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and collapse of the Soviet Union, we tended to see our security frontier as "over there. With the breakdown of the bipolar international structure after , our security posture for the last decade has more resembled defending the "imperial marches" as the Romans would have said than the more historic American concerns with securing our own territorial defense.

    Perhaps it is worth pondering whether our security circumstances have now come full circle - to where we were when Turner presented his paper in - with protection of our frontier at least as important as foreign adventures. The United States has entered an increasingly communications- and information-rich environment in which all of society is dependent on the proper functioning of its critical infrastructures - especially the national information and communications systems [ 46 ]. The economic, technological, and political dimensions of power, are now clearly recognized as key components of national security along with military strength, and they are also heavily dependent on information and advanced information systems.

    National Parks, Eco-Frontiers, and Transfrontiersmanship in Southern African Conservation

    As a result, there is concern that one of our most vulnerable territories may be our own cyberfrontier. In the developed world, no individual, organization, or government can choose to remain apart from the interconnected network of systems and relationships if they wish to function as part of society, whether domestic or global. An over-riding feature of this new environment, therefore, is "reciprocal dependency. While this feature of reciprocal dependency may not be new, as frontier settlers well recognized, the speed and intensity of its current manifestation set it apart, as do the immediacy of the linkages to distant and unknown parties.

    Increasing concern with terrorism both transnational and home-grown , the emergence of information warfare, and the availability of weapons of mass destruction, on the one hand, and the vulnerability of our citizens and our critical national infrastructures at home, on the other, have raised important questions about the continued validity of the national security construct that we held throughout the Cold War.

    Governments historically held a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence, the classical expression of sovereign power, and they often also possessed a real monopoly on the ability to wield violence on a large scale. Coupled with the clear constitutional mandate for the common defense, the U. But major acts of domestic terrorism, including the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings as well as attacks on American facilities abroad in Saudi Arabia and Africa, triggered new examination of our national vulnerabilities and potential threats. A series of studies on these issues, culminating in two Presidential Decision Directives, PDD and PDD, began to refocus attention on protecting our security against threats directed right at our homeland, and especially against our vulnerable critical infrastructures.

    More recent foreign commentary, especially in the aftermath of NATO's intervention in Kosovo, tends to reinforce the fear that the main threats against our security will come not on foreign battlefields, but at home since many potential opponents see direct confrontation with our military forces as futile [ 47 ]. And these threats, from within and without, will demand an entire range of "homeland defense" capabilities.

    Thus, a not unreasonable case can be made that our most important security perimeter is once again on this continent and that, in the face of growing threats from technologically sophisticated opponents, "homeland defense" of our people and territory should become a principal mission of American military forces. It was only a little over one hundred years ago that the American Army's principal focus was defense of our frontier territory. Circumstances now suggest that focus once again ought to be reemphasized as a core responsibility of our entire national defense establishment.

    Beyond the narrow concept of military defense, for much of our history, foreign affairs and national security involved not physical entanglement and overseas presence but engagement with ideas and principles, such as the Monroe Doctrine and Open Covenants. This tendency to want to reshape a world by words, ideas and values rather than deeds culminated with Woodrow Wilson's crusade for a new, more pacific and democratic world order, based on a strong institutional framework through the League of Nations.

    This tendency, furthermore, would be consistent with the forces - such as democratization, economic liberalization and globalization, and the Information Revolution itself - that are reshaping the international system and the strategic environment and, thereby, both redefining the role of military force and highlighting the importance of what we now term "Soft Power" [ 48 ]. However, many of the most powerful instruments for promulgating words, ideas and values are not in government hands - nor, in a free society, should they be under government control. Thus, these trends substantially complicate our national security challenge.

    For all the reasons noted above, a key element in developing a national security strategy suitable to our Information Age circumstances must be to realign responsibility, authority, and capability consistent with the current transformation. Responsibility is defined here to mean the inherent obligation to address the problem. Authority is defined as the legitimated power to address the specified problem; it is granted through explicit delegation by the people or, in some systems, seizure by coup de main , and it may possessed by several holders concurrently.

    Finally, Capability is the physical potential or expert competence to address the problem. These factors create a radically new and different environment from our industrial-age inheritance. In particular, the information age threatens to disrupt prevailing patterns of responsibility, authority, and capability among government and private entities - including how we plan and execute critical national security tasks.

    Any assessment of the role of government and the extent of its legitimate functions, including how it exercises its powers, cannot ignore these types of changes. The frontier analogy is useful exactly because it suggests a different balancing than those of the industrial or post-industrial periods. Agreement on these issues must, however, be achieved within the bounds of our social compact if an acceptable solution is to be found [ 49 ]. How this is accomplished - that is, the choice of where to vest these powers and which instruments to use - must be consistent with our nation's political beliefs, economic system, and social fabric.

    While many societies might choose, on the basis of their perceptions of efficiency and effectiveness, to place all these powers in the hands of the national government, the tradition in the United States has been to diffuse authority among levels of government federal, state, and local and, indeed, to retain many powers in the hands of the people themselves.

    Whatever the frictional losses, Americans have traditionally preferred foregoing the arguable advantages of centralized decision-making, believing that there is less risk in minimizing the powers granted to government [ 50 ]. Consistent with our federal form of government, even where the people are prepared to grant government the authority, the public often prefers to disperse that authority among many government hands, thereby creating an intricate web of federal, state, and local relations that must be accommodated in any new initiative.

    Moreover, even if there were agreement on authorities, protecting the nation's entire range of national security interests under these new circumstances is not a problem that will be solved by swift arrival of the Seventh Cavalry, or any set of government forces acting alone [ 51 ]. Therefore, solutions to these critical choices appear not in granting government more authorities and providing additional capabilities, but rather in learning how to induce, not order, appropriate actions by all the relevant players, most significantly individuals and private organizations.

    As it did on the western frontier, civil society must be prompted to accept responsibility and employ its capabilities perhaps now through liability and contract enforcement , not rely on government to protect all vital national security interests [ 52 ]. To a very large degree in the United States, the capabilities, along with the necessary authorities, to protect many of these crucial resources, even those performing vital societal and national security functions except for those clearly owned and operated by governments , already lie in the hands of private owners and operators.

    What is needed is for these powers to be exercised - in self- and national interest. It should be noted that these perspectives on distributed power and more voluntary coordination are not fully shared around the globe; therefore, it is to be expected that these different perspectives will give rise to significant tensions as international agreements to reduce information vulnerability and enhance information security are sought. And so, now five centuries after Columbus and almost four centuries from landings at Jamestown and Plymouth, we have again embarked on a new frontier adventure. Appreciating our heritage is a key to understanding some of the complex challenges that currently becloud our vision of the future.

    As the new cyberfrontier beckons, America's prospects appear bright. The CyberFrontier is no more a "South Seas Madness" or a Tulip bubble than was the West - occasional freefalls of the stock market notwithstanding. But it is important to discern the big long-term picture rather than the short-term perturbations. It is the implications of a renewed sense of "boundless opportunity" that should guide our way. Thus, appreciating the American frontier experience should allay fears that the cyberfrontier is just another giant Ponzi scheme. America is in the vanguard in exploiting this new territory; and our historical affinity for the betting on good luck, undertaking risk, and exploiting opportunities should stand us in good stead as we continue the transition from an industrial to an information age.

    As a result of self-selection, our new cyberfrontier has concentrated certain historically American traits as it evolves its distinctive culture. Thereby, it has magnified the inherent differences in attitude between itself and the rest of the country. At the same time, the diffusion of those traits throughout American society has been more rapid and accepting than elsewhere in the world. We should expect that there will be significant disagreements and even open confrontation with other nations in making the transition to Information Age societies.