American Frontier Essay Research Paper Westward movement

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American Frontier Essay, Research Paper Westward movement in America carried settlers across America, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The westward movement began in the early 1600’s with European settlements along the Atlantic Coast of North America. It continued until the late 1800’s. By that time, the western frontiers of the United States had been conquered. An abundance of land and other natural resources lured America’s pioneers westward. Fur traders, cattle ranchers, farmers, and miners led the push to the west. Merchants and other business people followed. These hard-working men and women faced great dangers, endured severe hardships, and suffered loneliness and boredom in the hope of making a better life for themselves and their children. Some of

them looked to the west for wealth or adventure. Others sought to improve their social position or increase their political power. The pioneers struggled westward across hills, mountains, and prairies on foot and on horseback. Some floated through the Erie Canal on barges or traveled down rivers on flatboats and steamboats. Others crossed the rugged wilderness in covered wagons. For many pioneers, the Cumberland Gap, the Oregon Trail, and other roads west became paths to opportunity. The American frontier shifted westward in stages. The first American frontier ran along the Atlantic Coast. Settlers began to cross the Appalachian Mountains after territory west of the mountains came under British control in 1763. During the early 1800’s, the next push westward took settlers into

the Great Lakes region, the Mississippi River Valley, and the plains along the Gulf of Mexico. By the mid-1840’s, adventurous pioneers had reached what are now California and Oregon in the Far West. The last frontier was the Great Plains between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. The settlement of that region began in the 1860’s. In 1890, the U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that no frontiers remained in the United States. The pioneers had conquered the West. Settlers from different lands brought their own customs and way of life to the frontier. In the process, they helped create American culture. For example, Scandinavian settlers brought the log cabin to America. Other settlers copied the log cabin throughout the Old West. German gunsmiths in Pennsylvania

adapted a European rifle to pioneer needs. The result–the Kentucky rifle–proved essential on the frontier for shooting game and for defense against wild animals. As each frontier became settled, tensions developed between western settlers and colonial governments in the east. The westerners resented paying taxes to distant governments that provided them with few benefits. The easterners viewed the west as a backwoods inhabited by people incapable of governing themselves. At times, disputes between the two groups turned violent. In 1764, Pennsylvania frontiersmen known as “the Paxton Boys” marched on Philadelphia, the colony’s capital. But Pennsylvania statesman Benjamin Franklin persuaded them to turn back. In the Carolinas, a group of westerners known as the

“Regulators” assembled to protest high taxes, insufficient representation in colonial government, and other injustices. A battle was narrowly avoided at the Saluda River in South Carolina in 1769. The Regulators fought and lost the Battle of Alamance in North Carolina in 1771. A vast territory west of the Appalachians lay open for settlement after the French and Indian War. However, Indians were prepared to defend their hunting grounds on that land. The British hoped to prevent costly Indian wars by keeping white settlers east of the Appalachians. For that reason, Britain issued the Proclamation of 1763. The proclamation drew a line through the mountains and forbade white settlements west of the line. It also ordered settlers already there to move back east and required