The Western Frontier and the Changes that took Place The frontier was land that had been untouched In the Western United States by white mans laws and way of life. As time passed, and the population grew on the frontier, and changes took place. Basic ways of life changed. Religious beliefs, laws, and regulations were challenged and adapted to the new settings. Each of these novels, The Pioneer, A New Way Home-who’ll Follow, & Hope Leslie, take a different look at these changes that were taking place.
In a New Way Home-who’ll Follow, Caroline Kirkland introduces the reader to a women’s journey westward. She gives detailed accounts of things women should bring on the trip westward. Kirkland “advises any of my friends who are about flitting to Wisconsin or Oregon, to prefer a heavy lumber wagon over a fashionable wagon (36). This statement shows how concern for looks over quality could not be the right mindset for the pioneer. She also warns the reader to bring only the necessities, food, clothing, basic cooking utensils, blankets, etc.
After her trip westward Kirkland looked back at what she had packed for her Journey and wondered why she had brought half of the belongings that she ad, since It was useless to her on the frontier. Kirkland Is showing how the frontier differed from the city. Some personal Items a woman might deem as necessary In the city were useless on the frontier, big dresses and makeup for example. By taking only the necessities, according to Kirkland, it would improve the chance of survival for pioneers on their Journey.
And survival on the frontier was a far different experience than that ever experienced in the city. In her novel Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick takes a look at the old religious beliefs brought over from Europe to the owns in America. These religious beliefs worked in Europe where they had been established for centuries. But in America, there had been no long standing religious laws, but Instead took the basic laws from Europe and adapted them for their use. So, if you lived In a Puritan town, you were expected to be and act as Puritan law dictated.
Sir Phillip, a character from Hope Leslie, had the outward appearance of a Puritan, but held few Puritan principles. He Is perceived by the towns folk to be a very devote Puritan, when in fact he held very little of the Puritan’s beliefs. Hope Leslie on the other hand had a strong religious belief in God, not Puritan specific, and she was persecuted for it. People in the town saw her as being anti-Puritan, which led many of the Puritans to view her as evil or against God’s wishes.
Hope takes the basic principles from the Puritan religion and converts them into her own universal religion, respecting others differing views and practices with God as holy. Hope, unlike the Puritan society, rejects the religious laws and follows her own heart. The Pioneers, by Cooper gives a glimpse of the population converging on the frontier. Nathaniel Bump, or Natty, was an old hunter and patriot, and the main character In The Pioneers. Natty sees the changes that were taking place by people inhabiting the frontier. He sees how the laws and money were transforming the landscape for the worse.
Before the laws and people came the Indians lived off the land and took only what they needed. Now the Whitman had moved in and started taking more AT ten resources Trot ten Lana Tort pronto I nee Ana also entrance laws so that said they would have control over these resources, such as that you could only hunt during certain times of the year. Natty also saw the wildlife population being dissipated by over gaming and greed for money Cooper describes Natty slaying a buck out of hunting season, almost sacrificially, in protest against the laws.
He is persecuted for his slaying of the buck, but when they come to get evidence for his crime, he burns his home to the ground in defiance. Natty is standing up for the way things used to be on the frontier, living off the land and taking only what you needed to survive. He sees the way people view the land and its surrounding, so he slays the buck to show his displeasure for the new laws hat have been instituted by the white man on the land and there taking of the resources not only for necessity but also for profit.
As you can see, each book touches on the changes that were taking place on the frontier and within the cities themselves. Old European laws and religious beliefs were being tested. With the freedom of the frontier, came the desire from some people to want to break away from the old ways and begin anew. Also, the way people had lived in cities began to change as changes took place on the frontier and the experiences were passed back to them.