Manifest Destiny: The Myth Of The West

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I For a long time in American History it was believed that the West held great amounts of opportunity for those who were willing to work hard enough to earn it. After some diligent research I have discovered through primary and secondary resources that the Myth of the West was not entirely a myth. Manifest destiny is what many American believed to be God’s calling for Americans to expand the U.S. from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. Their were many successful people in the West but most success’s were short lived. Many people traveled to the West only to become sick and never make it back to their families in the East. Throughout this essay we will take a glance into the lives of a prospector, frontier farmers,…show more content…
After reading a diary written by Lucia Eugenia Lamb Everett while she was on a trip across America. She described the land as beautiful and sometimes harsh. Lucia and her husband met a man who had his youngest daughter and his two sons killed by Indians. Lucia described encountering herds of Buffalo and also she encountered some Mormons that practiced polygamy, which was common amongst the Mormons back then. This trip that she went on sounds exciting and adventurous but by no means does it seem to be very prosperous full of great riches rather, it seems like it is a sad and physically demanding trip with some happy times between. A. Delano another Western Pioneer wrote about his account of having to eat a raccoon while on his trip he said the way to prepare a raccoon is “First catch your coon and kill him, skin him, and take out the entrails; cut off his head, which throw away; then if you have water to spare, wash the carcass clean, but if you have not, omit the washing. Parboil an hour to take out the strong musk, then roast it before the fire on a stick. While it is roasting, walk ten miles, fasting, to get an appetite, then tear it to pieces with your fingers, and it will relish admirably with a little salt and pepper, if you happen to have them. A tin cup of coffee without milk, taken with it, makes, under the circumstances, a feast fit for the gods.” That just shows how the pioneers had to rough…show more content…
During the Homestead Act of 1862 it was not uncommon for a married couple to pretend to be single in order to double their free land. there are many stories of women raising children and herding cattle all on their own. It seems like the West was a great place for women to be individuals rather than under the rule of a man as they usually were in that time. Women often succeeded where men had failed in the plains. Women enhanced their technologies such as building sod houses, digging wells, harvesting crops, and preserving foods in mason jars. There are even stories of widowed women homesteaders that were very successful even without their husbands around. One widowed homesteader in particular Laura Cruz took care of 480 acres of land and raised her children, learned to read and write and became a teacher. Laura Cruz lived to the ripe old age of 105! In conclusion, the myth of the West was not entirely a myth although it was misconstrued. In a sense it was a myth because not just anyone could move to the West and be guaranteed success as long as they worked hard. Their were many factors that VI played into the success’s and failures of each individual. Overall anyhow, the West was full of potential although much of the great success that the West had were short lived, the West ultimately became a nice place to live as long as you were willing to work
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