The West to many Americans at the time was a land of adventure, opportunity, freedom, and individualism. It was an untamed land waiting to be settled by optimistic Americans hoping to create a new civilization in this previously unexplored part of the country. However, when Americans moving in from the East got there, they would see that the land was already populated by a variety of different peoples who had long since settled the region. This included Hispanics and Native Americans (or Indians). Since Europeans settled America, the image of uncharted territory to the west had always inspired those who were looking to start a new life. The works of writers and painters such as Mark Twain, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, and Owen Wister helped romanticize the West. The cowboy became an American icon, a man free from traditional social constraints and an affinity for nature. Though these works of fiction were just that, fiction, the image of the Wild West still persists today in popular culture, a land of adventure and freedom, where each person is his or her own. The South and West differed quite a bit. The South was still recovering in the aftermath of the Civil War, and the Southern economy was struggling compared to its Northern counterpart. Even though slaves were freed, the South still did everything in its power to restrain freed slaves from equal rights. The West however was disconnected from those issues, and blacks and whites alike flocked to the West in search of a better life for themselves. There was still much to discover such as the mines and grassland where miners and farmers/ranchers could prosper. 2There was a plethora of factors that aided in the settlement of the west such as the balancing of the economy, The National Policy. These new tarrifs were put in place to protect and promote, while others expected it to create a national market. High hopes of the tariffs also included growth in the East West transcontinental union. Following the war of 1812 there was a migration of white settlers. These settlers were migrating into the Old West and the far west. During this time period the American population doubled and almost three decades later, the majority of the people lived west. The unsettled west held such a strong romantic appeal for many Americans because it put them in a state of fear and mystery due to the fact that it was unsettled, untamed land. They romanticized the unsettling because moving to the west meant riches. By moving to the west, people believed due to the amount of gold, they would become rich. A myriad of settlers were in desperation of a better life, a better living, and more money. Friends and family members that previously moved West, had a large impact on those that stayed behind. They began sending letters about their phenomenal lives, the great change, and about their “good lives” out on the west. Their families persuasion plus their desire to purchase land continuously pulled pioneers in more and more as the days went on. Nonetheless. those that moved or wished to move wanted better lives and more money3Some of the factors that contributed to the settlement was hope for better opportunities, and a new labor force. Cattle business turned out major profits, and ranchers and others knew that would continue the future. Due to the fact of the West having a better climate, there were none of the diseases there that they had in the East such as pleuro-pneumonia. The mining business also began to boom due to the demands of gold, and silver in the East. As well for copper,zinc, and quartz. It held a strong romantic appeal for many Americans because they all saw to as a way to start over, and reinvent themselves, they all assumed that the West was just a desert, and uninhabited when in reality it was the opposite. Many Americans also idealized the idea of the cowboy that was portrayed on television, and the idea of not having to live within the mens of hat society has to say. The romantic vision was been sought pop culture because since everyone was gong to West with these hopes and dreams, everyone else decided to follow along, even if they didn’t have the means too. The West differed from the East in some ways, with one major difference being how multiracial it was. There were people there from all over who worked together to make their lives better, whereas in the East the labor force and most things were controlled by whites. The two regions also differed because instead of fighting with Americans over slavery, they fought against those of other races for land and power.4he western frontier has been, and remains, such a powerful influence on American culture and memory that it is important to recall that much of this memory was shaped from romantic myths and seldom-realized ideals. For some, the West was a land of adventure, and there were examples of brave and courageous people who took up a rugged life in hopes of a better future. But the land that was new to thousands of migrants on the overland trails was far from empty and unknown. Major portions of the American West had long been populated by Indians, Spanish, and Mexicans. And the post–Civil War boom of settlement was not just by white Americans, but by people from around the world, many having similar aspirations and finding similar challenges. White settlement followed boom-and-bust patterns in the three industries that came to dominate the region in the second half of the nineteenth century: mining, ranching, and commercial agriculture. Whites, Blacks, Asians, Mexicans, and many others made up the labor force for these three industries. The result was a fluid, racially diverse, and often mobile population beset with terrific prejudice and discrimination. Still, there were many accomplishments. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century the United States grew drastically, in power and in geographical size. The Louisiana Purchase more than doubled the nation’s size and opened a little-known region to exploration and eventual settlement. Soon, explorers were returning from forays into the wilderness with stories of great stretches of beauty and fertile land. Some Americans ventured westward, but the nation was largely consumed by its struggle to maintain its neutrality in the face of threats from Britain and France. The War of 1812 settled this issue, leaving the United States free to pursue North American goals. The nation turned its attention to the issue of expansion. The founding fathers had envisioned the United States as a bastion of freedom that would cover territory reaching all the way across the North American continent. Their descendants had not forgotten this desire, and encouraged expansion into western territories through laws and rhetoric.
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