The more traditional and heavily Europeanized regions to the East viewed the frontier with mixed feelings.  In part, it was a patriotic symbol of national growth; in part, its very vitality seemed a threat to established American society.  The frontier drained off major portions of the most enterprising population from the East, undermined their religious convictions and their loyalty to the law, and reduced the government's taxation base.  And as the economic importance of the frontier states grew, their representatives returned back East to demand a share in political power.  But their priorities were now frontier priorities, which differed radically from those of the Eastern establishment. 
    The most important factor in shaping the values of the frontiersmen was the seemingly limitless availability of free land:
"The very fact of the wilderness appealed to men as a fair, blank page on which to write a new chapter in the story of man's struggle for a higher type of society...  Never again can such an opportunity come to the sons of men.  It was unique, and the thing is so near us, so much a part of our lives, that we do not even yet comprehend its full significance."  (Frederick Jackson Turner c. 1890)
Any European, any Easterner, regardless of status, class, nationality or religious conviction, could have land for the taking, if they were willing to pit themselves against nature.  The settler was therefore literally a "self-made man".  He combined an "antipathy to control" and "laxity in regard to governmental affairs", with an "aggressive courage, in domination, in directness of action, in destructiveness", and a "feverish haste to acquire advantages as though he only half believed his dream".  He learned to value self-sufficiency and individualism, a hard-headed, practical "exaltation of the common man", a vision of a "new order of society" as continuous competition between equals.  Free land thus promoted a radically democratic spirit, which was assimilated into mainstream American culture, and had more substantial influence on American politics than the constitutional principles that had evolved in Europe.  Free land also encouraged a mingling of ethnic groups, which transcended the predominantly British identity of the East, not only by including other European nationalities, but by transcending European ideas of ethnic identity altogether and producing a new, inclusive, "composite nationality", which was distinctively American.