In 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner proposed that America’s Western frontier was an economic ‘safety-valve,’ a place where settlers could migrate when conditions in eastern states and Europe crystalized against their upward economic mobility. However, recent studies suggest the Western frontier’s material conditions may not have been as advantageous as Jackson proposed because settlers lacked the knowledge and human capital to succeed on the Plains and Far Western frontier. This study illustrates that current and cumulative net nutrition on the Central Plains improved during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, indicating that recent challenges to the Turner hypothesis are not well supported by net nutrition studies. Net nutrition improve with agricultural innovations and biotechnologies on the western frontier, and rural agricultural workers net nutrition was better than from elsewhere within the US.
nineteenth century black and white stature variation urbanization US Central Plains