In the 1800’s pioneers expanded into the western part of the United States of America for many reasons. The original 13 colonies were getting way to crowded. With everyone coming from Europe, there’s no “Elbow Room”! Manifest Destiny is what makes up America. Manifest Destiny is the belief of a part of a continent should be one big country and no other small countries.
The Louisiana Territory (West part of the U.S.) was bought by Thomas Jefferson from France in October, 1803. It cost 15 million dollars! The 13 colonies grew about 1 million square miles larger just over night. No one wanted to go into the “Unknown Regions”, they thought it was very dangerous. Eventually, Jefferson found two men that were willing to go. Lewis and Clark. They had agreed to set out and explore the unknown. Lewis and Clark started on a boat in 1804 with a crew called the “Core of Discovery”. The river they started on didn’t go the whole way to the other side. So most of it they walked. Lewis and Clark found grizzly bears, prairie dogs, and met Native Americans along the way. When they finally found the Pacific Ocean, they headed back to the growing U.S. Lewis and Clark came back in 1805 with lots of full journals. People started moving to the est on a trail. The Oregon Trail.
The Oregon Trail began in 1836 after Lewis and Clark explored the Louisiana Territory. After 7 years of long days making the trail go through mountains and valleys, the Oregon Trail opened in 1843. In the first year of opening, 900 settlers traveled the long, long journey. Another year went by, and 1,200 settlers trekked the Oregon trail. It was very risky choice, 1 out of every 10 people died. You had two horses, a wagon with a canvas going over it, and limited items. Not much. The settlers that went either wanted more land to live, or they went for gold. The Oregon Trail was 2,000 miles long! It could take 7 to 12 months! But if you're unlucky, it could take longer. Captain Gray, a boat captain, buried american coins to prove that America bought the land. The Oregon trail ended in 1869 when the Transcontinental Railroad was built.
The Gold Rush started in 1849 when John Sutter found gold in the Sacramento River. He tried to tell no one, but word spread fast, and everyone had gotten “Gold Fever”. John Sutter was trying to keep all the gold hunters off the Sacramento River, but John couldn’t because he didn’t own the land! It was casos. All the miners thought that they would get rich quick. Well only 50 out of 1,500 got good enough gold to leave and have a nice home. If I was thinking going to California for the gold rush, I would rather live in a small log cabin in the middle of nowhere. After about a year of mining, digging, and searching, their was very little gold left. All the miners had been named the 49’ers for the whole year of searching for gold. The Oregon Trail was used to get to the mines in California, that was until the Transcontinental Railroad was built.
The Transcontinental Railroad was built in 1835 by two big companies. The two big companies were the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific made the Railroad. Both of them had at least had 10,000 workers combined. The Union Pacific had done a lot more of track-laying because they were going through the Great Plains. There were barely any obstacles in their way. Meanwhile, Central Pacific had to go through the Sierra Nevada mountains! That’s a lot of TNT. So they took longer and didn’t lay down as many tracks. On May 10th, 1869, the Transcontinental Railroad was finally finished. They had a golden spike ceremony. In that ceremony, they had one spike left. The golden spike. One person nailed the spike in, and the Transcontinental Railroad was complete.
If any of the above didn’t happen, our world would look like it is still in the 1800’s. Our country would be half it’s size! Much too small. The Louisiana Purchase (if it wasn’t purchased) would maybe be called “New France”, or “Extended France”! My point is that we would be very behind in technology and life itself! Hope your enjoyed!
Domnauer, Teresa, Westward Expansion. New York, NY, Children’s Press, 2010.
Link (Book) http://tfx.grolier.com/book/node-33061/01001893
Link (Video) http://tfx.grolier.com/video/node-33061/01001893
Friedman, Mel, The California Gold Rush. New York, NY, Children’s Press, 2010.u
Link (Book) http://tfx.grolier.com/book/node-33061/01001888
Link (video) http://tfx.grolier.com/video/node-33061/01001888
Friedman, Mel, The Oregon Trail. New York, NY, Children’s Press. 2010.
Link ( Book) http://tfx.grolier.com/book/node-33061/01001891
Link ( Video) http://tfx.grolier.com/video/node-33061/01001891
Perritang, John, The Lewis and Clark Expedition. Ann Arbor, Michigan, MI, Children's Press,
Link (Book) http://tfx.grolier.com/book/node-33061/01001889
Link (Video) http://tfx.grolier.com/video/node-33061/01001889
Perritano, John, The Transcontinental Railroad, New York, NY, Children's Press, 2010.
Link (Video) http://tfx.grolier.com/video/node-33061/01001892