Irresistible Attraction by DeBois

American nation is one of the most controversial notions, which still cannot be regarded as homogeneous one. One of the historians who were dealing with the explanation of American identity was Turner. He developed the theory of the frontier that become one of the turning points in the historical science and transformed the way children and students are taught history in schools and universities. Turner defined the role of frontier as one of the most influential factors in American history, which shaped the identity of the nation and provided it with all the unique features. One of the issues that he addressed in his work devoted to the frontier was the irresistible attraction that can be explained by the desire of American people to move to the West and discover new lands and opportunities (Turner, Edwards, and Mood)).

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Moreover, there is one more attraction mentioned in the articles of Turner, which is the attraction to a good soil. However, lack of homogeneity of the American nation leads to the necessity to use one more approach to understand how minorities values and identity were formed (Huntington). As demonstrated by DuBois, identity of African Americans was formed under various circumstances. Therefore, it demonstrates different type of attraction, mainly to proper recognition and genuine freedom. The inner issues of different representatives of American nation can be regarded as almost opposite to each other and might be understood properly in case of comparative analysis of the writings and ideas of Turner and DuBois in the aspect of this mysterious attraction that shaped the way of thinking.

To begin with, the concept of frontier determined one crucial factor that influenced the formation of American identity. Turner was claiming that the basis for forming the identity of Americans was different than the one of European people. In fact, he determined one factor that made an impact on American people, which was the West with its huge empty territories. Turner was sure that American people have their special and authentic type of democracy formed mainly because of the West and the possibility to move there and initiate own business.

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Each country and nation that was happy to owe personal vast and unexplored territories had a chance to form similar approach of people to democracy, liberty, and personal development. However, American nation was absolutely unique in this aspect, mainly because its people were not limited in their movements to the West and had new incredible possibilities and chances there (Huntington). At the same time, the countries like Russia that also has huge territories, for example, Siberia, did not provide people with such possibilities, and, as a result, their mentality is much more limited and is not free.

The issue of frontier was especially typical at the beginning of the twentieth century, but later wars made the world lose all the main frontiers and the concept became less topical. However, it had already played its role in the formation of American mentality and identity and evoked attraction and desire to discover something new, explore new territories, and become their master. It can be regarded as a rather important national feature as it primarily denoted the broadness of thinking, lack of limits but, at the same time, closeness to the idea of frontier that provided people with a primal sense of their absolute safety.

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Moreover, there were other attractions related to American national desires, for instance, Good soils have been the most continuous attraction to the farmers frontier (Turner, Edwards, and Mood). Soil was the guarantee of the harvest and each exploration conducted by brave people was related to discovering new lands and soils. Being successors of the first American founders from the Mayflower ship, American farmers understood the power and importance of the soil, harvest, and the possibility to feed own family under any conditions.

At the same time, another part of American nation experienced a rather different sort of attraction related to the factor of freedom and the issue of personal inner deliberation. The primal attraction of African Americans, as demonstrated by DeBois, was the attraction to the general recognition and perception:

Freedom, too, the long-sought, we still seek,the freedom of life and limb, the freedom to work and think, the freedom to love and aspire. Work, culture, liberty,all these we need, not singly but together, not successively but together, each growing and aiding each, and all striving toward that vaster ideal that swims before the Negro people, the ideal of human brotherhood, gained through the unifying ideal of Race. (DeBois)

The attraction of the African Americans was related to the fact that they wanted to be considered a part of American nation, culture, and identity, which made a great impact on its development, general image, and establishment. According to the ideas in the article of DeBois, the American people were also impacted by Africans, even considering the fact that they did not notice them and did not treat them properly. Freedom and recognition of their role were a kind of attraction that was necessary for African Americans to feel involved in the nation and become its part (Gutterman and Murphy). The issue of perception of black people remained a topical issue for the author, as Americans were considering African Americans only a great trouble and treated them as others who were scaring them with own difference. At the same time, after becoming legally free, these people required restoration of their honor and inner liberty compared to other people:

The red stain of bastardy, which two centuries of systematic legal defilement of Negro women had stamped upon his race, meant not only the loss of ancient African chastity, but also the hereditary weight of a mass of corruption from white adulterers, threatening almost the obliteration of the Negro home. (DuBois)

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It can be claimed that they also added liberal spirit into the American identity. Being far from the ideas of external exploration and receiving new lands, they were dealing with the issue of inner liberation. Moreover, they promoted the development of American identity and specificity of thinking and culture in this aspect of development.

Being formed under rather specific circumstances, the American nation and identity were mostly developed due to Americans inner attractions. The frontier and the West, according to Turner, were attracting brave people who needed new lands and soils. At the same time, another part of the population, African Americans, was dealing with its attraction related to recognition and freedom. As a result, American nation received features of both groups of people.

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