tive to the military. This meant, then, that there was a preconceived image of the frontier. It may have been a heroic and indeed a romantic myth good for recruit- ing or it may have been an unexpressed escapism in the form of noblesse oblige; no doubt it varied with the people, the age, the place and the rank. At times the frontier changed its fluid state for a static one and then the invaders became de- fenders, a role they may have already played in escort work along the trails.
Given his druthers, the soldier preferred to fight in open ground. Given his preference, the sailor on the sea frontier chose to operate in temperate to tropical open seas away from a lee shore. Just as the army attempted to pin native raiders against a natural barrier, so the navy tried to block their passages or blockade their ports; but both found that subjugation or extermination were often ulti- mately required.
While it generally appears true that the invaders, the colonizers, were suc- cessful because eventually geography and technology were on their side, this assumption must be looked at with care. Frequently the encroachers had to learn to overcome geography, so that for some time the natives had the advantage of knowing how to survive in inhospitable territory. But we have too often accepted the stories of the invaders' exploits at face value, failing to examine the land our- selves to see whether or not to naturally cautious countrymen, as most colonial soldiers were, the lie of the land was obvious and only measures to conserve their supplies and to adapt to the area had to be learned. We also need to ask whether or not in colonial campaigns the outsiders, from the supposedly superior civilization, were actually the better armed. Obviously Caesar's legions had overwhelming force and the discipline of experience as well as superior arms when they invaded Britain, but it is demonstrable that General Braddock's infan- try as they marched on Fort Duquesne in 1754 did not. The musket was usually no match in forests for the bow and arrow or for the frontier rifle, nor later was the colonizer adequately armed for close combat against Plains Indians on horseback in America until the late development of the repeating rifle. We might even argue that civilized armies have more often been at a disadvantage on the frontier because of their conception of the variety of arms and of the size of the necessary baggage train. It was to overcome this immobility that they introduced technology such as Roman roads or in the 19th century telegraphs, roads and railways, and steamers.
The frontiers, which interest us most here are those upon which the mili- tary played an active role in peripheral imperial wars, and within this context may be suggested a number of types of frontiers which differ from one another in a variety of ways.