Why did people move west?

+91 votes
asked Apr 17, 2015 in Culture & Society by Korotoumou (690 points)
retagged Jul 31, 2015 by Tina.G
I’ve always been a fan of western movies and things related to the Wild West, but it seemed like a really tough living. I know at one point in American history there were a lot of people that moved west, but why did they move west, to somewhere that seems so barren?

4 Answers

+28 votes
answered Apr 21, 2015 by katie (810 points)
During the middle of the 1800s, there were a lot of stories about how great Oregon was that made people want to move west. The newspapers told all about milder weather and richer soil that was good for growing crops in this territory, which appealed to farmers. As part of civilizing this new area, missionaries went to Oregon to spread Christianity to the Native Americans and sent back letters to home about how amazing the state was. So a lot of people in the overcrowded eastern cities decided to move west into this less populated territory that was advertised as a wonderland.
+9 votes
answered Apr 22, 2015 by LaSheree (950 points)
The idea of Manifest Destiny led the government to introduce many laws that made settling the west easier and also provided an incentive for people to do so. They believed that white Americans should settle and govern the entirety of the territory that is the United States today. The Homestead Act gave hundreds of people large portions of the western territory if they agreed to live there for five years and settle the land. This gave a lot of people the opportunity as well as the want to move west.
+5 votes
answered Apr 27, 2015 by Savannah (1,000 points)
edited Jul 31, 2015 by Tina.G
I was once very much curious about why did people move west in the 1840s. I think it has to do with gold. In 1848, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill led to a flood of people migrating west. They had high hopes of discovering gold during the Gold Rush that could make them rich for life. Many of the people that headed west to find gold were young men, but because of this huge migration there were a lot of people that followed them along in order to sell food, water, supplies, and entertainment.
+1 vote
answered Apr 21, 2015 by shedina (790 points)
I may know why African Americans moved west back then. African American slaves traveled west as runaways in order to get their freedom. If they could make it to this new western territory, then they could make a new life for themselves as well and escape slavery. There were plenty of jobs as farmers and loggers in the west that appealed to ex-slaves.
Welcome to Instant Answer, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community.