Second Western Movement Essay

Second Western Movement Essay-41
Between 18, considered to be the height of migration along the trail, over 400,000 settlers followed this path west from Missouri (Figure 17.3).Figure 17.3 Hundreds of thousands of people travelled west on the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails, but their numbers did not ensure their safety. National Archives and Records Administration) America is destined for better deeds.

Between 18, considered to be the height of migration along the trail, over 400,000 settlers followed this path west from Missouri (Figure 17.3).

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Illness, starvation, and other dangers—both real and imagined— made survival hard. It is our unparalleled glory that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defense [sic] of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement. The expansive future is our arena, and for our history.

Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes. We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past.

Hispanic communities in the Southwest, diverse Indian tribes throughout the western states, as well as other settlers from Asia and Western Europe already lived in many parts of the country.

American expansion would necessitate a far more complex and involved exchange than simply filling empty space.

The concept of Manifest Destiny found its roots in the long-standing traditions of territorial expansion upon which the nation itself was founded.

This phrase, which implies divine encouragement for territorial expansion, was coined by magazine editor John O’Sullivan in 1845, when he wrote in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review that “it was our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions.” Although the context of O’Sullivan’s original article was to encourage expansion into the newly acquired Texas territory, the spirit it invoked would subsequently be used to encourage westward settlement throughout the rest of the nineteenth century.Some sought open lands and greater freedom to fulfill the democratic vision originally promoted by Thomas Jefferson and experienced by their ancestors. Still others believed it was their job to spread the word of God to the “heathens” on the frontier.Whatever their motivation, the great migration was underway. Figure 17.2: Timeline While a small number of settlers had pushed westward before the mid-nineteenth century, the land west of the Mississippi was largely unexplored.Figure 17.1 Widely held rhetoric of the nineteenth century suggested to Americans that it was their divine right and responsibility to settle the West with Protestant democratic values. / 12.2014 Professor of History Ventura College In the middle of the nineteenth century, farmers in the “Old West”—the land across the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania— began to hear about the opportunities to be found in the “New West.” They had long believed that the land west of the Mississippi was a great desert, unfit for human habitation.Newspaper editor Horace Greely, who coined the phrase “Go west, young man,” encouraged Americans to fulfill this dream. But now, the federal government was encouraging them to join the migratory stream westward to this unknown land.Still, most Americans who went west needed some financial security at the outset of their journey; even with government aid, the truly poor could not make the trip.The cost of moving an entire family westward, combined with the risks as well as the questionable chances of success, made the move prohibitive for most.Artists of the day depicted this western expansion in idealized landscapes that bore little resemblance to the difficulties of life on the trail. For a variety of reasons, Americans increasingly felt compelled to fulfill their “Manifest Destiny,” a phrase that came to mean that they were expected to spread across the land given to them by God and, most importantly, spread predominantly American values to the frontier (Figure 17.1).With great trepidation, hundreds, and then hundreds of thousands, of settlers packed their lives into wagons and set out, following the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails, to seek a new life in the West.The Oregon Trail is the most famous of these western routes.Two thousand miles long and barely passable on foot in the early nineteenth century, by the 1840s, wagon trains were a common sight.


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