Westward Expansion

Aleesa H.

Gold Rush Performance

From the stories I've heard around the ship, people are all migrating to California for the same reason. Gold, gold, land, and more gold. They all have different leading causes though, different reasons why. One man, a lone man, was talking to another about his life before. He was broke, and his wife and two children were starving. He's movin' west to hopefully find some gold to bring back to his family. They have a home, but they won't be able to keep it long if they don't find some food. Another group, a man, his wife, and a kid, are also aboard. The boy is the only person under 16 on the whole ship. They were successful before, they just wanted more. The man was greedy, spurred on by his wife's constant complaints about trivial things. A terrible family, though I feel bad for the boy, having to deal with them. I hope they don't find much of anything and that families more deserving find gold. One more party stood out to me, a single woman. She came in hopes that there would be many single men to marry her and provide for her a life. I can tell she was right. Already I have seen four different men ask for her hand, and she has told them all maybe. It seems she is waiting for all the requests so she can choose the most promising mate. Smart girl. There are many more aboard the ship of course, but they all have similar stories. I know the next round of people will be the same, all hoping for their chance at gold. It's good for me, I make tons of many and they get where they wanted to go. A win-win deal. Hopefully some of these prospectors will find something. Best of luck to you all.

Manifest Destiny

American Progress by John Gast is a painting commissioned to display he Manifest Destiny of America. The painting's central figure is a lady that represents the progression of America: she strings a telegraph wire and wears Velcro, new inventions of the era. She also carries a school book, displaying educational advancements. The lady is likely an angel, representing that the Manifest Destiny was "God's will." She brings a light that follows her westward. With this light, Americans follow. Pioneers, 49ers, and those from many other aspects of life migrate towards the west. Trains and boats can be seen as well on their way west. With their progression, native people and animals are forced out of the way for Americans. American Progression is a well-created painting to tell the story of the Manifest Destiny.

Mexican-American War

There were many causes of the Mexican-American War. The most important cause, however, was territorial disputes. America thought that the Mexican border was the Rio Grande, but the Mexicans said it was the Nueces River. Thanks to this dispute, President James Polk sent General Zachary Taylor down to Mexico to negotiate a deal to buy Mexican territory. Taylor brought his entire army to negotiate the deal though, so Mexico attacked, assuming it was a declaration of war. After this attack, America actually declared war on Mexico.

During the war time, California declared it's independence from Mexico. Mexico couldn't do anything about this like they did in the Texas Revolution because they were busy at war with the rest of America. This incident was known as the Bear Flag Revolt.

At the end of the war, America emerged victorious. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. This treaty gave the United States control of present-day California, Nevada, and Utah for $15 million. The purchase increased the size of the United States by 25%. This was known as the Mexican Cession.

About five years later, America and Mexico agreed on the Gadsden purchase. This was the sale of land in Arizona and New Mexico to America for $10 million. Mexico was running low on money, so they accepted the deal.

Texas Revolution

Settlers began moving to Texas because of empresarios. Empresarios were people given the right to settle land in exchange for them recruiting new people to live there. They brought many new settlers in to populate the vast wilderness that was Texas. Eventually, there were enough people there and they wanted to break free from Mexico, who technically ruled over them. Texans declared their independence on March 2, 1836. Mexico was not okay with this, and war broke out. One major battle of the war was the Battle of the Alamo. Mexican General Santa Anna won the battle, killing almost all of the Texans in that area. The Texans killed here include legends Davy Crockett and Jun Bowie. Mexico seemed to be winning the war until the Battle of San Jacinto. Santa Anna's army was quickly surrounded by the Texans, who were spurred on by the cries of "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" (Goliad was a slaughter earlier in the war, where Santa Anna and his troops massacred 342 Texans). With the army surrounded, they were easily defeated. Santa Anna was held at gunpoint and forced to sign a treaty granting Texas independence.

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Trails West in the 1840s

Oregon - a trail leading from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon. It was used by those wanting to travel and settle to the west. The Oregon Trail is one of the most well-known trails of the time period.

California - a trail starting near Independence, Missouri, leading near Sacramento, California. It served essentially the same purpose as the Oregon Trail; that is, to travel west, gain land, find gold, and settle.

Santa Fe - a trail starting near Independence, Missouri, leading down to Sante Fe Texas. This trail, while sometimes used to gain land, was primarily a trade route. Many would travel the trail in groups, exchange their own goods for Mexican ones near the border, then take the Mexican good back to Missouri or beyond to sell for a higher price. This served as a good way for someone to make a living if they did not want to settle in the west.

Mormon- a trail travelled by the Mormons. The Mormons are a religious group that stems from Christianity. They were kicked out of Jackson County, Missouri, and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. They were kicked out there as well, and they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. The trail from Illinois to Utah was known as the Mormon trail. It was traveled for religious purposes and to find the land spoken about in the golden plates.