Chak P. Lee

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Donald J. Berg


Our curiosity about how an area has developed into what it is today invariably draws our attention to its initial situation. In the United States, the frontier serves as the logical locus upon which questions such as the latter can be laid. Frederick Jackson Turner has popularized the frontier concept by elevating its place in the history of the American national development. What Turner's frontier thesis has for special offer to geography lies in the observation of the frontier as a discrete areal unit, set off, as it was, from the settled area due to the differential pace in the migration process. This observation, besides adding historical insights to our old concept of the region, lays a solid foundation for many viable area studies. Turner's view that the frontier society evolves through a sequence of increasingly complex economic stages, such as from fishing through hunting and farming to urban society, unaccidentally came about at a time when the evolutionist theory was in vogue. This organic theory of social change draws essentially on phenomena found in the biological world and explains society in the same way a biologist does a living organism. Just as a biological organism evolves from a single cell to a complex structure with its specialized internal organs, societal change can be conceived of being a natural progress from a simple community of people to a complex society with its various institutions. Historically, many cultural patterns in place can be traced to the phenomenon of earlier spatial diffusion; only a few from natural evolution of cultural practice within their own home environment. From evolution to environment and spatial diffusion, theoretical argument becomes increasingly awkward to many. Such confusion, as analyzed by Berkhofer, stems from the failure of the critic to consider society's different sectors, on which environmental influences play differently. Farming in the frontier represents a special facet of man-land relationship, a theme that will underly this study. By virtue of its natural resources, the northern interior was destined to become the agricultural heartland of America. To the building of this vast agrarian society, diverse human elements have contributed, as both foreign and native people intermingled. Early cultural differences were later overcome by common political consciousness and economic constraint. Over space, further differences exist in regional settlement pattern for reasons that can be traced to the very process of settling. Turner urged an examination of such differences and similarities, suggesting that this study could be a worthwhile undertaking.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Agriculture -- South Dakota -- Davison County -- History
Agriculture -- Social aspects -- South Dakota -- Davison County -- History
Agricultural ecology -- South Dakota -- Davison County -- History



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State