George Donner

Leader of the Donner Party, 1846

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Why I Moved West

I moved west to lead a party of 90 emigrants to California to start a new life in California.

My Impact on Westward Expansion

Although many people moved to the west even after hearing my tragic story, my story showed that traveling west was not always what it was rumored to be. Many heard my story and realized that maybe it wasn't worth the hardship. My story even scared some out of thinking that the frontier was always heaven on earth.
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Manifest Destiny

Manifest destiny is the belief that we not only could, but were destined to move and expand westward by God. If it wasn't for manifest destiny, I would have never made the perilous journey westward. Manifest destiny inspired my loyal partner, James Reed, and I to start the next chapter of our lives in California.


Some challenges I faced along the way to California were starvation and malnutrition because of our lack of food. We also faced exhaustion from the many days we treked across valleys and mountains. The biggest challenge we faced was the blizzarding snow. It caused us hypothermia and pneumonia as well as snow blindness.

Where We Settled

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Final Destination, Sutter's Fort

Life was much better for the survivors of our party who settled in present day Sacramento and San Jose. Unlike the snowy sierras, settlers were greeted with rain and sunshine. Some were blessed with The Gold Rush and soon became rich while others had trouble socially when society found out they were alleged cannibals.

"Westward ho! Who wants to go to California without costing them anything? As many as eight young men of good character who can drive an ox team will be accommodated. Come, boys, you can have as much land as you want without costing you anything." - George Donner

Works Cited Staff. "Donner Party". A+E Networks, 2010. Web. 14 Jan . 2016.

Johnson, Kristin. "2014 Spur Finalist: Donner Party Cannibalism". HistoryNet., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016