Westward Expansion


What does it mean to be an American as a pioneer during the westward expansion?

To be an American as a pioneer in the westward expansion means to be very smart, strong, have a very good attitude, and to be fearless. Many pioneers would not have made it to the west without these traits. The pioneers were looking for the American dream and they would try to achieve this at any cost. No matter what got in the pioneers way they would keep going strong and proud. The pioneers had all the traits that make this country great.
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Who were the pioneers?

The pioneers had perseverance. They were of strong character and strength.They were adventurous people who risked it all. They "engaged in farming and blacksmithing, and had a wide reputation for ingenuity."(On the plains 1844) The pioneers came from many different religions and backgrounds. The pioneers were German, French, and Belgium's to name a few. The pioneers were made up of farmers, blacksmiths, and teachers. They came from the east coast, Ohio, and Missouri. The pionners were mainly made up of families. Some were as young as babies. One out of five women were pregnant. Tamsen Donner,a teacher, delivered the Keseberg's baby while passing through the plains. (The remains of the baby and his mother were later found with Lewis Keseberg when a rescue part reached donner lake).
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Why did the pioneers settle in the west?

In 1803, the United States of America puchased the land west of the Cumberland gap from France. This purchase was called the Louisiana purchase. The Cumberland gap was called the gateway to the west. "President James Polk stated that it was America's Manifest destiny to settle North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean." (Rural America: The westward Movement) The west was a land full of riches for anyone who wanted to conquer it. It was also a dangerous wilderness. The Poneers who headed west could forge a new life, a better life. They could become whatever they wanted out west. They just had to get there. They faced extreme hardship and it is their character that settled the west. "Gather up your family, and Go West!" (New York Tribune)
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What did the pioneers encounter on their way to the west?

The journey to the west was not an easy one. The pioneers encountered many hardships."Yet they might say their hardships were well worth the price of freedom." (True West Archives) The wagons were uncomfortable and "the motion of the wagon made us all sick". (On the plains in 1844) The Donner Party had a broken axle that forced them to camp in the Truckee area during harsh winter conditions. Some were not experienced cattle drivers and found in difficult to handle. "Soon after starting Indians raided our camp one night and drove off a number of cattle." (On the Plains in 1844) Many suffered injuries and sickness. Several perished and the rest had to continue on. The pioneers had to hunt for food and furs to keep them warm. Unfortunately for some, they were not skilled hunters. This was the case with the Donner Party. "At the peak of this westward migration more than 55,000 pioneers made the hazardous crossing in a single season."(Westward Expansion, Rural America: the Westward Movement)
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Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24

Work Cited

“On the Plains in 1844.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2013. Web. <www.gilderlehrman.org>

“Rural America: The Westward Movement.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2013. Web. <www.gilderlehrman.org>

“Lewis and Clark Journal Entries.” Brain Waves Instruction. 2014. Web. <www.brainwavesinstruction.blogspot.com>

"True West Archives." True West Magazine.2015.<http://www.truewestmagazine.com>

"Westward S1,Ep3."America The Story of Us.2010.<www.netflix.com>