Effect of the Environment on Western Settlers

Topics: Human migration, Factor analysis, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 2 (636 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Effect of the Environment on Western Settlers

As the country grew and expanded, the American people where always one to push their bounds. In 1763, we proudly, defied England's proclamation of the year, and settled west of the Appalachian mountains. A little later, the westward people pushed Indians, animals, and society to a place where no American person had gone before. But all the while, one important factor determined where they transported themselves, where they settled, and what they did when they got there. This factor, the environment, profoundly affected the settlers way of life, and other factors, such as the Indians and the railroad, only aggravated a pre-existing condition.

The settlers of the late 1800's had only one way to get to the west- along the pre-existing routes established by the courier-de-bois, Spanish settlers, and the Indians of the past. These routes, which flowed through the only passable areas of the Rockies, naturally led to Oregon and California, which caused an increase in the population of these regions at the time. These trails, such as the Oregon Trail to the north, the Mormon and Spanish Trail to the south, and the California and Overland trails in between were very rough and bumpy, making the trek no easy task.

On the home front, the environment played an important role on the family life as well.. Women had a more prominent role in society as we shifted from the urbanized east to the more agrarian west. They were expected to do more than they did in the past, such as make the clothing everyone in the family wore, while the man was off toiling in the desert in search for food. With an increased sense of independence, women had gained rights to vote and proprietorship. But with this increased sense of independence came the added responsibility of being the family doctor, chef, and provider of family comfort and support. Women even faced the grim possibility of giving birth on the trail.

The environment also...
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