21 T Д 7 bile the frontier idealized the rugged individual as the great American hero, it
V V also respected the inventive individual. The need for self-reliance on the frontier encouraged a spirit of inventiveness. Frontier men and women not only had to provide most of their daily life essentials, but they were also constantly facing new problems and situations which demanded new solutions. Under these circumstances, they soon learned to experiment with new ways of doing things.
22 Observers from other countries were very impressed by the frontiersman’s ability to invent useful new farm tools. They were equally impressed by the pioneer woman’s ability to make clothing, candles, soap, and many other items needed for the daily life of her family. Lord Bryce, a famous English observer of American life, believed that the inventive skills of American pioneers enabled them to succeed at tasks beyond the abilities of most ordinary men and women in other countries. Although Americans in the more settled eastern regions of the United States created many of the most important inventions in the new nation, the western frontier had the effect of spreading the spirit of inventiveness throughout the population and helping it to become a national character trait.
23 The willingness to experiment and
invent led to another American trait, a “can-do” spirit, or a sense of optimism that every problem has a solution. Americans like to believe that a difficult problem can be solved
immediately—an impossible one may take a little longer. They take pride in meeting challenges and overcoming difficult obstacles. This can-do spirit has traditionally given Americans a sense of optimism about themselves and their country. Many like to say that if the United States can land a man on the moon, no problem on earth is impossible. In the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville said that no other country in the world “more confidently seizes the future” than the United States. Traditionally, when times were hard, political leaders have reminded Americans of their frontier heritage and the tough determination of their pioneer ancestors; the can-do spirit has become a source of pride and inspiration.