Westward Expansion Essay

Yet in the 1840's, immigrants to the West saw most of the region as an obstacle, not a destination.They feared the area's vast deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and many Indian tribes.

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For example, some ambitious Oregonians drove cattle south to the California gold mines. As more Americans pushed westward, new technologies assisted them.

Before the 1850's, most people traveled westward by boat or wagon.

Immigrant farmers initially skipped over most of the West, migrating instead to fertile valleys in California and Oregon by a variety of land and sea routes. victory in the Mexican War (1846-1848) gave the young nation vast new areas of land in the West.

Two events helped spur a much larger migration by 1849. Second, a gold rush in California in 1849 attracted droves of American fortune seekers called "Forty-Niners." The gold rush also attracted Chinese, Europeans, South Americans, and others, all hoping to strike it rich.

Such companies as Montgomery Ward of Chicago could ship goods to westerners who had ordered them through the companies' mail order catalogs. In the 1880's, for example, wealthy easterners began boarding trains to spend time on dude ranches, which provided them a brief taste of western ranch life.

New forms of communication also transformed the West.Regardless of the precise boundary line used, the western frontier differed in many ways from the eastern United States.Much of the West had a drier climate than that of the East, and western terrain often proved much harsher.These methods proved slow and expensive, and they provided limited access to western lands.The railroad, or "iron horse," became a vital new travel option, especially after the 1860's.describes one of the most exciting periods in the history of the United States.From 1850 to 1900, swift and widespread changes transformed the American West.During the early days of the frontier, a letter took months to travel from the Midwest to California.But several developments soon made communication much faster.The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 authorized a transcontinental rail line.The Union Pacific Railroad built this line westward from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific Railroad built it eastward from Sacramento, California. On May 10, to mark the achievement, officials of the two railroads drove silver and gold spikes to join the rails.


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