Nicole Morgan wrote about the progress toward a better future being a notion about time, but one that emerged from a feeling of spaciousness. At the end of the 19th century, Europeans confronted the end of their capacity to expand spatially into other parts of the world. It was the end of the Age of Empires and the end of the Frontier for Americans. Optimistic expansionism was undaunted, however. The 20th century opened with a new version: a future paradise based on a combination of technology with social science and political-economic nostrums. As the century was closing, humanity was facing the exhaustion of that world view. The frontier of time was closing. The 21st century was dawning on the end of the future.
[Arguably, the politics of many previous centuries were about expansion into the territories of others as local resources became exhausted through exploitation. Ed.]