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The Problems Of Living In A Newly Set Up Town In The West

2721 words - 11 pages

The Problems of Living in a Newly Set Up Town in the West

In the time period of 1840-1895, commonly known as the American west,
pioneers set off to the west of America to set up homes there, with
the promise of free land, and the image of ‘streets paved with gold’
in their minds; Americans were more than willing to pack up and find
their fortune. However, moving west was not as easy as most had
anticipated, and many families perished on the journey over alone, not
to mention the living conditions when they arrived. As more and more
families began migrating west, the discoveries of gold brought along
many big businesses, and a mass increase in people hoping to make
money. This meant that towns needed to be set up to accommodate all of
these people. As well as ordinary living towns, ranchers and miners
needed to set up cow towns and mining towns for there workers. New
laws were continuously being passed to encourage this, as U.S
government wanted to make the west a part of the U.S.A as quickly as
possible. Homesteaders had a right to claim land if they moved to the
west, and land to build a town could be bought cheaply, resulting in
towns being set up literally overnight. The mass amount of people
migrating to set up towns would cause some inevitable problems.

One of the problems with setting up a town in such a small amount of
time was that there was a serious lack of law and order; there was
rarely any kind of law enforcement until a long time after the towns
were set up. Gang rule was often adopted, and almost all men in these
towns had a gun and would use it readily if necessary. Of those who
had gone to find there fortune in gold, the lack of law and order was
a very severe problem. The towns were relying on vigilantes to keep
law and order, but there methods of keeping the peace were as bad as
the criminals. They would not need sufficient proof to kill a suspect,
and once someone was suspected of a crime, they would immediately be
taken to the nearest tree and hung without trial.

Even with this dangerous threat to the criminals, very serious crimes
were still committed without precaution. In fact, the sheer amount
that law and order was disregarded and disobeyed in the American west
is beyond imaginable capabilities. These could range from common
crimes such as petty theft to terrible accounts of prejudice and
murder. The defiance of law was greatly affected by which type of town
that it occurred in. There were various types of towns set up in the
American west, as there were so many reasons for travelling to the
west; some would go to try and uncover the fabled gold which had been
reported to the east with such appeal, so they would need to set up a
town in a specific location, and in a particular way that would
benefit them the most. Others would set up towns to keep cattle...

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