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Transcript of Western Expansion
How does Western Expansion help define the nation and forge the American character?
With the establishment of the first railways on the east coast of the United States in 1830, both commerce and public transportation became much more efficient.
By 1850, approximately 9,000 miles of railroad tracks had been laid East of the Mississippi River.
The railroad was finished in 1869, connecting the East coast of the Continental United States to the West coast.
Indian Removal Act
Proposed by President Andrew Jackson
Although the great American venture Westward seems heroic and without negative impact, this is most certainly not the case. The risk taking American of the time slowly became less hurried to get rich quick and more worried about their well being. This is where immigrants stepped in to fulfill the places once held my the American risk-takers in hard working and dangerous positions such as the handling of explosives. And although it may be true that the Americans faced great opposition, that does not make them respectable, as they were taking land from opposition that wanted no part in war or surrender to them. The natives had their land stolen, and Mexico was informally invaded by Americans living in Texas, branding Americans as belligerent and greedy due to the nature of their conflicts rather than noble.
Throughout the move West the American Spirit was characterized by the American peoples' willingness to risk everything on a chance, perseverance despite great opposition, and desire to become better and more advanced than previously.
828,000 square miles
Increased American presence in the world
Forced Native Americans off their homelands
The Choctaws and Chickasaw left willingly and the Cherokee were forced off their lands
Seminole Removal from Native Lands
The Battle of Little Bighorn
Between the Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors and Lieutenant Custer
Reasons for Occurring:
1). Native Americans refusing to leave their lands.
2). Discovery of gold in the Lakota's lands
Both Chief Sitting Bull and Chief Crazy Horse lead an overwhelming defeat against Custer
Brought the retaliation of the United States Army
"[The Indian Removal Act] will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power"- Andrew Jackson
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Reached Pacific ocean in November 1805
Oregon Trail (circa 1840-1880)
The Transcontinental Railroad was so effective that a trip West, previously costing upwards of one thousand dollars and possibly the traveler's life, was now as cheap as a few hundred dollars, and much safer as well.
Did not leave peacefully
Americans disliked the Seminoles because they harbored fugitive slaves
Second Seminole War caused much death and money to be spent by the U.S. government
Third Seminole War drove
the rest of the Seminoles
out of Florida
“[W]e were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden…I could but esteem this moment of departure as the most happy of my life,” (Jolliffe).
The Pony Express
Began in 1860, lasted as a service for 19 months
Consisted of 80 riders and between 400-500 horses
All commuting between approximately 100 relay stations located across the United States
Package and general mail delivery expedited to 10 day trips from coast to coast
Replaced in 1861 after the establishment of the first transcontinental telegraph system
1848 Gold Rush begins
Defined American borders
Gold is first found by James Marshall at Sutter's Mill
By 1849, about 90,000 "Forty-niners" had flocked to California with high hopes of striking it rich
Independence, Mo to Columbia River, OR (2170 miles, 5 months)
Over 300,000 emigrants
Trail was used to reach West Coast during the Gold Rush
Ten percent of travelers died
"Thirty-five years ago I was out prospecting on the Stanislaus, tramping all day long with pick and pan and horn, washing a hatful of dirt here and there, always expecting to make a rich strike, and never doing it" (Twain).
"Round about California in that day were scattered a host of these living dead men- pride-smitten poor fellows, grizzled and old at forty..." (Twain).
"...that he was there because he had once had his opportunity to go home to the States rich, and had not done it; had rather lost his wealth, and had then in his humiliation resolved to sever all communication with home..." (Twain).
The Use of Immigrant Workers
The development of the Transcontinental Railroad was a notably noble endeavor that exhibited American determination and ingenuity. However, During this development, a large amount of steel driving railroad workers were actually Chinese immigrants working for insultingly low reward. This portrays Americans as lazy, cheap and somewhat cruel to foreigners. This trend of Chinese immigration to find wealth in the United States was more a result of the Gold Rush than the railroad's development alone.
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Jolliffe, David, and Hephzibah Roskelly. Writing America: Language and Composition in Context. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2014. Print.
Library of Congress. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.
"Oregon Trail- Pathway to the West." Legends Of America. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.
Perry, Douglas. "Teaching With Documents: The Lewis and Clark Expedition." National Archives.N.p., n.d. Web.
Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 5 Mar. 2016.
"THE REAL HISTORY OF THE GOLD RUSH (OLD WILD WEST DOCUMENTARY)." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
"Transcontinental Railroad Exclusive Videos & Features." History.com. A&E Television Networks,n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Twain, Mark. The Californian's Tale. New York: Harper, 1902. Print.
"Westward Expansion." History: Timeline of. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
"Westward Expansion: The Louisiana Purchase." Ushistory.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2016.
Drew Jimenez, Sarah Morrow, Nathan Thrower, and Harrison Cole