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Frontier

settlers government settled settlement

Frontier, in U.S. history, boundary between the settled and unsettled areas of the country. It was constantly changing as the descendants of the original settlers of the 13 colonies spread out north, south, and especially, west. In the early days expansion was slow, consisting largely of migrations into the Appalachian area and into what is now Pennsylvania. By the time of Independence, Kentucky had been settled and the frontier was in Tennessee. The new government provided for surveying, settlement, and administration of new areas. The frontier moved steadily westward, and new states were formed in quick succession until, by 1848, Mexico was forced to cede the Southwest, and settlement began on the west coast. Native Americans suffered badly under the government's policy of moving them to make way for settlers and struggled to resist it. After the Civil War, wars with Native Americans broke out again, but by the 1870s and 1880s the growth of cities and the enclosure of much of the land meant that the settlers were firmly established. In 1890 the Bureau of the Census officially declared the frontier closed; its way of life and the peculiar mythology it created have had a great influence on U.S. culture.

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