Western Expansion

By:Taylor Bishop

The Donner Party

Westward Expansion was taken more seriously than people's lives. As an example the Donner party took moving out west more important than their lives. They took a cutoff to get to California faster. They ended up getting stuck in the Sierra Mountains and having to resort to cannibalism. They took expanding out West ward to get more land, more serious than their own health. They were supposed to pass over the mountains before the snow hit but the Donner wagon broke causing them to be late, George Donner also cut his hand causing them to be days late and having the snowstorm hit them from the mountains. They started blaming them for having to get stuck up in the mountains. They were supposed to get over the mountains and get right into California but the snowstorm stopped them and they were trapped in the Sierra mountains for the whole winter.

They took the cutoff to get to California but the “cutoff” was actually 125 miles longer. They decided to take the cut off right at fort Laramie and take it going through the mountains instead of around which would’ve taken less time because there was less miles to travel. They were stuck in the mountains for a whole winter. They had a group called the “Forlorn Hope” who were trying to get over the mountains to try and get help, they got stuck in the mountains for 9 days but only brought food for 6 days. They had to make a circle of people to huddle around and after some people had passed they started eating the leftover people so they didn’t die of starvation. Eventually because of James Reed’s banishment he told the Californians that were in the middle of the American-Mexican war to go and rescue the Donner party but they had to finish the war first, which took more time so they were stuck there for longer.

Hastings and the Donners took westward expansion more important than their own lives, they took the cutoff even if Hastings never actually took it himself. They thought taking the cutoff was a better idea to get to California than the official route, that had been taken many times by many people. James Reed was the official rescuer of the Donner party. If he had never been banished they would’ve all died or have to wait longer until they could leave. They kept the whole cannibalism thing quiet until a survivor admitted to cannibalism. That same survivor happened to open a restaurant down in California, in one of the towns. Only 46 out of 87 people survived the whole thing. Only the Reeds didn’t eat humans, because they were taken out of there earlier by James Reed. That’s how they took Western expansion more important than lives

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Oregon Trail and Donner Party

Works Cited

Arndt, Christopher. “Oregon Trail and Donner Party.” Online Video clip.Youtube. Google. 11th April, 2014. Web. 18th March, 2016.


Charleston, Keith. 31st May, 2013. “Donner Party Route.” Map. 16th March, 2016.


N.D. “Arrival of the first relief”Photograph. 18th March, 2016.


N.D. “The Donner party” Photo. 18th March, 2016.


P., Eliza. N.D.”The Donner Party.”Photo. 17th March, 2016.


Schneider, Gabriella. N.D. “The Donner Party.” Photograph. 17th March, 2016.


Tea, Ray. N.D. “Routes of the Snowshoe Party and Relief Parties” Map. 18th March, 2016.


Wertheim, Andy. 27th May, 2015.”Truckee Lake,” Photo. 16th March, 2016.