The historiography of the United States refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to study the history of the United States. While history examines the interplay of events in the past, historiography examines how historians do this, and looks at the "methodology of historical study", according to one course description.
The American frontier comprises the geography, history, folklore, and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American westward expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last mainland territories as states in the early 20th century. Enormous popular attention in the media focuses on the Western United States in the second half of the nineteenth century, a period sometimes called the Old West, or the Wild West.
As defined by Hine and Faragher, "frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states." They explain, "It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America." Through treaties with foreign nations and native tribes, political compromise, military conquest, establishment of law and order, building farms, ranches and towns, marking trails and digging mines, and pulling in great migrations of foreigners, the United States expanded from coast to coast fulfilling the dreams of Manifest Destiny. Historian Frederick Jackson Turner in his "Frontier thesis" (1893) theorized that the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, the Americans, whose values focused on equality, democracy, and optimism, as well as individualism, self-reliance, and even violence.
American nationalism is the nationalism that asserts that Americans are a nation and that promotes the cultural unity of Americans. American scholars such as Hans Kohn have claimed that the US government institutionalized a civic nationalism based on legal and rational concepts of citizenship, and based on a common language and cultural traditions, rather than ethnic nationalism. The founders of the United States founded the country upon classical liberal individualist principles rather than ethnic nationalist principles. American nationalism since World War I and particularly since the 1960s has largely been based upon the civic nationalist culture of the country's founders. However prior to 1914, American nationalism in practice had strong ethnic nationalist elements – including nativism and efforts to exclude immigrants, African Americans, and others from receiving political power as citizens. American nativist ethnic nationalism found a basis in early leaders of the United States – such as George Washington who believed that immigration could have a deleterious affect on the country's national character, as well as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who opposed immigration from absolute monarchies because they believed that such immigrants would bring the antidemocratic beliefs of their countries to the United States. Discriminatory immigration policies by the US government continued until 1965 with the Amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act that abolished the existing ethnic quota system and replaced it with an ethnic-blind system. The civil rights movement of the 1950s to 1960s resulted in American civic nationalism prevailing over ethnic nationalism, as legal barriers preventing African Americans from attaining the full citizenship were removed, officially enfranchising African Americans as equal citizens as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The United States traces its origins to colonies founded by the Kingdom of England in the early 17th century. Each colony was independently governed and was under nations the authority of the Crown; a colonist had no duty to colonies other than their own. By 1732, the Kingdom of Great Britain had 13 colonies established in British America. When the colonies faced a threat during the French and Indian War, the Albany Plan proposed a union between the colonies. Although unsuccessful, it served as a reference for future discussions of independence.]citation needed[
The Frontier Thesis or Turner Thesis, is the argument advanced by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893 that American democracy was formed by the American Frontier. He stressed the process—the moving frontier line—and the impact it had on pioneers going through the process. He also stressed results, especially that American democracy was the primary result, along with equalitarianism, disinterest in high culture, and violence. "American democracy was born of no theorist's dream; it was not carried in the Sarah Constant to Virginia, nor in the Mayflower to Plymouth. It came out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier," said Turner. In the thesis, the American frontier established liberty by releasing Americans from European mind-sets and eroding old, dysfunctional customs. The frontier had no need for standing armies, established churches, aristocrats or nobles, nor for landed gentry who controlled most of the land and charged heavy rents. Frontier land was free for the taking. Turner first announced his thesis in a paper entitled "The Significance of the Frontier in American History", delivered to the American Historical Association in 1893 in Chicago. He won very wide acclaim among historians and intellectuals. Turner elaborated on the theme in his advanced history lectures and in a series of essays published over the next 25 years, published along with his initial paper as The Frontier in American History.
Turner's emphasis on the importance of the frontier in shaping American character influenced the interpretation found in thousands of scholarly histories. His model of sectionalism as a composite of social forces, such as ethnicity and land ownership, gave historians the tools to use social history as the foundation for all social, economic and political developments in American history. By the time Turner died in 1932, 60% of the leading history departments in the U.S. were teaching courses in frontier history along Turnerian lines.
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.