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Dbq: Settlement of the Western Frontier

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Essay title: Dbq: Settlement of the Western Frontier

DBQ: Settlement of the Western Frontier

During the years between 1840 and 1890, the land west of the Mississippi River experienced a wild and sporadic growth. The natural environment contributed greatly to this growth spurt and helped shape the development of the trans-Mississippi west. The natural environment dictated and facilitated the development of the west by way of determining who settled where, how the people survived, why people wanted to settle, and whether they were successful or not.

Many Americans packed few belongings and headed west during the middle to the late nineteenth century. It was during this time period that the idea of manifest destiny became rooted in American customs and ideals. Manifest Destiny is the idea that supported and justified expansionist policies, it declared that expansion was both necessary and right. America's expansionist attitudes were prominent during the debate over the territorial rights of the Oregon territory. America wanted to claim the Oregon territory as its own, but Great Britain would not allow that. Eventually the two nations came to an agreement and a compromise was reached, as seen in document B. The first major party of settlers that traveled to the west settled in Oregon.

To many families the prospect of owning land was the central driving force that brought them to the land known today as the wild Wild West. Much propaganda was in existence during this period of rapid growth, many promoting the wonderful resources that the west contained. The landscape of the West was one without trees and other natural markings, water was scarce, and unpredictable weather changes often made life on the frontier difficult. Emigrants were often ignorant of the climate and made the voyage anyway, as seen in document C. The journey west was made by wagon. Food shortages and disease often plagued the emigrants. Also the unpredictable climate cause more hardships. The emigrants chose areas that they thought had the best land. The settlements were concentrated mostly along the coast because the middle was dessertious, as seen in document a. As a result of this picking and choosing of lands, families were often isolated, where the nearest family was often miles away. The natural environment determined what type of people settled in which places. Families looking to settle permanently and plant roots settled on the land best fit for farming. Young and adventurous emigrants looking to make a quick profit from speculating the land or mining it settled and developed quick cities.

The west was rich in natural minerals such as gold, silver, and coal. These natural resources and the prospect of making a quick profit brought many young men to the west. These emigrants were not looking to settle, but to make a quick profit and return home. Cities like Portland, San Antonio, and Denver

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