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Development Of The West

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There are certain factors that help shape the development of the land and the people who settle in a brand new area unfamiliar to them. Throughout the 1800's to the 1840's, many Americans considered the lands west of the Mississippi dangerous and therefore unfit for civilization. However, from the 1840's to the 1890's, people from eastern United States began to migrate to the west for the immense area of land that had both nice climate and natural resources and thus, attracted a great deal of settlers. The sweeping landscape of the West included; the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Western Plateau, and the California/West Coast area. The people who migrated to the West usually had the jobs of farmers, ranchers, and miners because of the discovery of rich soil, grass, and minerals there. Therefore, if it were not for the natural environment and the group of people that migrated to the West of United States, the development of the West beyond the Mississippi would not have been possible and the United States would not be what it is right now.

Nature has greatly shaped the United States since the beginning of time and was a major factor in the development of the west of the United States. Successful agriculture in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Western Plateau, and 20" rainfall led many farmers to settle in the west. The early journey westward by the people migrating to the west was usually by wagon or cart. These journeys were very difficult and dangerous and many people died on these journeys (Doc E) (Doc C). The devastating weather as well as the threat of Native Americans already living in the West because of President Jackson made the journeys very long and difficult and lasted up to months (Doc H). The natural environment of the western region and the settlement of farmers there greatly contributed to the development of the west. Farmers helped create new markets of new agriculture in the western area for the nation's already growing economy. The farmers also harvested the land for further farming for others and also sold their new cash crops to national and world markets.

In the west, there was a large region of mineral-rich mountains and plateaus which attracted many miners to come to the west (Doc A). The natural land of the west, particularly California, Colorado, Nevada, and South Dakota was attractive to large groups of miners. In 1848, the California Gold Rush began and millions started to rush to the west from the east and for gold. However, not everyone prospered from the gold because not everyone got some, so miners had to continue and move from place to place to get gold. This led to the creation of boomtowns and further settlement for miners and their families in the western region (Doc G). Boomtowns and the settlements of western miners contributed tremendously to the development of the west.

The luxury of gold was not the only reason why people came to the west. The vast grasslands of the Great Plains attracted many people because the region was large and very benefiting for ranchers who owned cattle. The Great Plains had a huge field for the cattle raisers because they could graze their herds for free and with no boundaries from neighbors. In the west, the vast region of the Great Plains was very providing because the area was so large and the cattle of the ranchers could roam freely without any trouble (Doc A). The ranchers also enjoyed a little adventure in their lives among the Great Plains as they had to travel about with their herd. However it was also very dangerous to be a rancher as seen from Andy Adams and how he ran out of water on his journey and the next source of water was sixty miles from him (Doc I).The ranchers were able to contribute to the development of the west by linking the cattle industry of the west with the markets of the United States to become richer and make the United States wealthier.

The natural environments and the group of people that migrated to the West of United States were the most important factors that ever helped shape the development of the land of the west beyond the Mississippi and the people who settle in that region. The group of people who migrated to the west included: farmers, ranchers, and miners. These groups of workers truly helped expand the development of the western frontier by introducing the western region to the growing industrial economy of the United States. The promising natural environment of the west that included the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Western Plateau, and the California/West Coast area, attracted these settlers with its rich soil, grass, minerals, as well as its nice climate and natural resources. The migrants adjusted to their environments accordingly and worked very hard in natural environment that was unfamiliar to them and successfully developed the west of the United States. The west of the United States was influenced and developed because of the natural environment and the group of people that migrated to the West of United States. Therefore, thanks to natural environment of the United States, and the people who decided to follow their dreams and prosper by migrating the west, the development of the West beyond the Mississippi would not have been possible and the United States would not be what it is right now.


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