America's Movement Westward.

Essay by AFWTKHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2003

download word file, 5 pages 4.3

During the latter half of the ninetieth-century, America shifted its movement westward and began to populate the frontier. Some settlers sought adventure. Others moved onto the frontier to escape the drab routine of city life. Whatever the specific reason, most people moved westward to "better their lot." Many inventions and innovations helped improve the lives of settlers in the West. America's westward movement also sparked conflict.

The American people settled on the land west of the Mississippi for many diverse reasons. Initially, many Americans were reluctant to move westward. Early explorers thought that the country beyond the Mississippi River was unfit for civilization. Consequently, the Great Plains region became known as "The Great American Desert." Americans first moved west of the Mississippi in large numbers as a result of the Panic of 1819. Because of the Panic, many southern farmers went into debt. To escape creditors, many of these farmers fled into eastern Texas and were welcomed by the Mexican government.

After the Panic of 1837, Texas again drew settlers from the United States. The Panic of 1837 impelled many debt-ridden and land-hungry farmers to take advantage of the 1280 acres that the Republic of Texas offered to immigrants from America.

Americans also moved west of the Mississippi River because of the rich gold and silver deposits discovered in the West. Many people flocked to the West hoping to get rich. The California Gold Rush of 1849 began the mining boom and set the pattern for subsequent strikes in other regions. As a result of the first finds, mining towns quickly formed. Many people moved out West to provide food, clothing, and services to the thousands of miners. Later, large corporations moved in to dig the deep shafts and finance costly equipment, causing the mining towns to grow and take...