Moving West Essay

1848 words - 8 pages

Why did people migrate west – especially to Oregon?

Can you imagine how hard and dangerous it would be to take your family and move to an unknown territory, where only a handful of people have visited? Why would people even go to this new land? Well people had different motivations for traveling west, but the common cause was simple. Travelling west was an opportunity for people to start new lives. The chance for a fresh start, a better life, and the chance to make your own fortune motivated hundreds of thousands. Exploring a new territory and expanding our new nation took courage, curiosity and the opportunity to make a fortune. The idea of spreading our country from coast to coast is called Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny is the idea that the United States was destined to spread across the continent and that God and nature had intended this to take place. Although many people made the journey west and went to different places the majority of the people settled in California and Oregon. A lot of people settled in Oregon. The end of the Oregon Trail was Oregon City one of the largest and first settlements in the west. There were different motives for the people who settled in Oregon compared to the ones that went to California but the one thing in common was the chance to make a fortune and own land. Although there was this opportunity it was a dangerous and long travel to the new lands and one in ten people didn’t make it on average and plenty of people were lost and never found.
How did the emigrants find there way to Oregon?
This journey began in Independence, Missouri and ended in Oregon City, Oregon Territory. It was a long and treacherous journey that lasted for over 2000 miles from east to west. It was a large wagon route and it took anywhere from 5-7 months to travel the Oregon Trail. The Oregon trail sprouted several other trails such as the California Trail, the Bozeman Trail and the Mormon Trail. These trails were laid by fur trappers and traders in the early 1800’s and at the time were only passable by foot and horseback. Of course this was before the great migration west which began in the 1843 when 800-1000 emigrants left for Oregon. The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The Oregon trail bisected two major Native American tribes the Cheyenne to the North and the Pawnee to the South. The majority of Americans who made the trip to Oregon never had encountered a Native American tribe and most believed they were hostile and vicious people which was far from the truth. Most encounters with Native Americans were just business encounters. The emigrants offered clothes tobacco or rifles and the Natives offered food and horses. Some violent encounters between these two groups of people were the Bear River Massacre and the Grattan Massacre. According to(2) the Grattan Massacre happened over a cow that had roamed off and was eaten by...

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