The settlement of the United States has occupied
traditional historians since 1893 when Frederick Jackson
Turner developed his Frontier Thesis, a thesis that
explained American development in terms of westward
(5) expansion. From the perspective of women’s history,
Turner’s exclusively masculine assumptions constitute a
major drawback: his defenders and critics alike have
reconstructed men’s, not women’s, lives on the frontier.
However, precisely because of this masculine orientation,
(10)revising the Frontier Thesis by focusing on women’s
experience introduces new themes into women’s
history—woman as lawmaker and entrepreneur—and,
consequently, new interpretations of women’s relation-
ship to capital, labor, and statute.
(15)Turner claimed that the frontier produced the indivi-
dualism that is the hallmark of American culture, and
that this individualism in turn promoted democratic
institutions and economic equality. He argued for the
frontier as an agent of social change. Most novelists and
(20) historians writing in the early to midtwentieth century
who considered women in the West, when they consid-
ered women at all, fell under Turner’s spell. In their
works these authors tended to glorify women’s contribu-
tions to frontier life. Western women, in Turnerian tradi-
(25) tion, were a fiercely independent, capable, and durable
lot, free from the constraints binding their eastern sisters.
This interpretation implied that the West provided a
congenial environment where women could aspire to
their own goals, free from constrictive stereotypes and
(30) sexist attitudes. In Turnerian terminology, the frontier
had furnished “a gate of escape from the bondage of the
By the middle of the twentieth century, the Frontier
Thesis fell into disfavor among historians. Later, Reac-
(35) tionist writers took the view that frontier women were
lonely, displaced persons in a hostile milieu that intensi-
fied the worst aspects of gender relations. The renais-
sance of the feminist movement during the 1970’s led to
the Stasist school, which sidestepped the good bad
(40) dichotomy and argued that frontier women lived lives
similar to the live of women in the East. In one now-
standard text, Faragher demonstrated the persistence of
the “cult of true womanhood” and the illusionary qual-
ity of change on the westward journey. Recently the
(45) Stasist position has been revised but not entirely
discounted by new research.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) provide a framework within which the history of
women in nineteenth-century America can be
(B) discuss divergent interpretations of women’s
experience on the western frontier
(C) introduce a new hypothesis about women’s
experience in nineteenth-century America
(D) advocate an empirical approach to women’s
experience on the western frontier
(E) resolve ambiguities in several theories about
women’s experience on the western frontier
2. Which of the following can be inferred about the
novelists and historians mentioned in lines 19-20?
(A) They misunderstood the powerful influence of
constrictive stereotypes on women in the East.
(B) They assumed that the frontier had offered more
opportunities to women than had the East.
(C) They included accurate information about women’s
experiences on the frontier.
(D) They underestimated the endurance and fortitude of
(E) They agreed with some of Turner’s assumptions
about frontier women, but disagreed with other
assumptions that he made.
3. Which of the following, if true, would provide
additional evidence for the Stasists’ argument as it is
described in the passage?
(A) Frontier women relied on smaller support groups of
relatives and friends in the West than they had in the
(B) The urban frontier in the West offered more
occupational opportunity than the agricultural
(C) Women participated more fully in the economic
decisions of the family group in the West than they
had in the East.
(D) Western women received financial compensation for
labor that was comparable to what women received
in the East.
(E) Western women did not have an effect on divorce
laws, but lawmakers in the West were more
responsive to women’s concerns than lawmakers in
the East were.
4. According to the passage, Turner makes which of the
following connections in his Frontier Thesis?
Ⅰ. A connection between American individualism and
Ⅱ. A connection between geographical expansion and
Ⅲ. A connection between social change and financial
(A) I only
(C) Ⅲ only
(D) Ⅰand Ⅱ only
(E) Ⅰ,Ⅱ and Ⅲ
5. It can be inferred that which of the following statements
is consistent with the Reactionist position as it is
described in the passage?
(A) Continuity, not change, marked women’s lives as
they moved from East to West.
(B) Women’s experience on the North American frontier
has not received enough attention from modern
(C) Despite its rigors, the frontier offered women
opportunities that had not been available in the East.
(D) Gender relations were more difficult for women in
the West than they were in the East.
(E) Women on the North American frontier adopted new
roles while at the same time reaffirming traditional
6. Which of the following best describes the organization
of the passage?
(A) A current interpretation of a phenomenon is
described and then ways in which it was developed
(B) Three theories are presented and then a new
hypothesis that discounts those theories is described.
(C) An important theory and its effects are discussed and
then ways in which it has been revised are described.
(D) A controversial theory is discussed and then
viewpoints both for and against it are described.
(E) A phenomenon is described and then theories
concerning its correctness are discussed.
7. Which of the following is true of the Stasist school as it
is described in the passage?
(A) It provides new interpretations of women’s
relationship to work and the law.
(B) It resolves some of the ambiguities inherent in
Turnerian and Reactionist thought.
(C) It has recently been discounted by new research
gathered on women’s experience.
(D) It avoids extreme positions taken by other writers on
(E) It was the first school of thought to suggest
substantial revisions to the Frontier Thesis.