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As the American frontier passed into history, the myths of the West in fiction and film took firm hold in the imagination of Americans and foreigners alike.In David Murdoch's view, America is exceptional in choosing its iconic self-image: "No other nation has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America's creation of the West." The frontier line was the outer line of European-American settlement.There might be a storekeeper, a minister, and perhaps a doctor; and there were a number of landless laborers. In the South, frontier areas that lacked transportation, such as the Appalachian Mountain region, remained based on subsistence farming and resembled the egalitarianism of their northern counterparts, although they had a larger upper-class of slaveowners. However frontier areas of 1700 that had good river connections were increasingly transformed into plantation agriculture.Rich men came in, bought up the good land, and worked it with slaves. It had a stratified society comprising a powerful upper-class white landowning gentry, a small middle-class, a fairly large group of landless or tenant white farmers, and a growing slave population at the bottom of the social pyramid.This eventually inspired the Western genre of film, which spilled over into comic books, and children's toys, games and costumes.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; the building of farms, ranches, and towns; the marking of trails and digging of mines; and the pulling in of great migrations of foreigners, the United States expanded from coast to coast, fulfilling the dreams of Manifest Destiny.Land ownership brought a degree of independence as well as a vote for local and provincial offices.The typical New England settlements were quite compact and small—under a square mile.
French settlement was limited to a few very small villages such as Kaskaskia, Illinois as well as a larger settlement around New Orleans.Only a few thousand French migrated to Canada; these habitants settled in villages along the St.Lawrence River, building communities that remained stable for long stretches; they did not simply jump west the way the British did.Areas in the north that were in the frontier stage by 1700 generally had poor transportation facilities, so the opportunity for commercial agriculture was low.These areas remained primarily in subsistence agriculture, and as a result by the 1760s these societies were highly egalitarian, as explained by historian Jackson Turner Main: The typical frontier society therefore was one in which class distinctions were minimized.