Westward Expansion Project

By Brett Auclair

Donner party

An example of Westward expansion and how human life was less important was the Donner party. They wanted to move West so they could have more land and make more money since it was the time of the gold rush. Many people took the journey to California, but there was another way. The group heard about cutoff that Robert Hastings created. Hastings said it would cut off 400 miles and they would get there so much faster and wouldn't need as many supplies. This turned out to be more of a detour than a cutoff.

The group of families were going to California for better life opportunities. They would take this very long journey because they think it will be worth it in the long run. They would risk their lives and everything they own just to get to California. They wanted to get there really fast so they wanted to take a cut off. This cut off turned out to be not true and they were not able to go back. They had to abandon some of their things and animals. The groups got split up because Mr. Donner cut himself and they were 6 miles behind. The other group was stuck at the base of the Mountain.They started getting hungry and soon started to die off. They needed to survive to they so they had to eat other people that had died so they could finish the journey and get to California. There were not a lot of people that survived only 46 out of 84 people lived through this journey.

Robert Hastings thought that expanding west was more important than human lives. Robert wanted to have that cut off so people could use it and they would be able to save 400 miles and more people would do this trip. Hastings lied and said that he had done this trip so he could get the families to try it for him. He didn't care about what happened to them because they were just his guinea pigs. He thought that it would be a safe trip but he didn't bother to check himself to really find out. Even if they did die along the way he thought they were contributing to the world so it could addapt. He should have done this himself not with families, when it was over there were only two Donner family members left and they were both the daughters. If he did this himself he would have known it was was a shortcut but i think he would have sent them anyway.

Westward expansion was very important at this time and it was a big role in how to U.S. has developed today. They risked their lives so they could try and get to California to their futures would be better and brighter. Hastings didn't actually see if the cutoff was faster and shorter but if it was the future of how they traveled would be totally different. If they never did do this cutoff who knows what it could have changed in the United States history.

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Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24

Work Cited

CrashCourse “Westward Expansion.” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q16OZkgSXfM>. Youtube. Youtube,

August 8, 2013. Web. March 16, 2016


Crofutt, George, N.D. “Manifest Destiny and Westward Expansion: how the west was won?”. <https://hti.osu.edu/history-lesson-plans/united-states-history/manifest-destiny-westward-expansion>. March 16, 2016

Frohnem, Bruce. July 27, 2010 “Westward Expansion: how the west was won?”. <http://www.sonofthesouth.net/texas/westward-expansion.htm> March 16, 2016



June 21, 2014 “The Donner Party”. <http://historum.com/american-history/6275-donner-party.html>. March 16, 2016


March 15, 2010 “ Truckee Lake Camp”. <http://elk122bzw.pbworks.com/w/page/4315100/Westward%20Expansion>. March 16, 2016


May 22, 2013 “Donner party Starvation Camp”. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party>. March 16, 2016



Weiser, Kathy. April, 2015 “ Old West Mercantile”. <http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ca-donnerparty2.html>. March 16, 2015


2014 “Westward Expansion” <http://www.runet.edu/~sbisset/westward.html>. March 16, 2016