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Oregon Trail

By | March 2011
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Oregon Trail 20 Questions

Motivations for people moving west:
A1. Some settlers wanted to move west in hopes of finding gold in the Californian hills. Others set forth for lush, fertile Oregon where they were promised cheap farmland and the chance to prosper.

A2. In the 1840’s, many Americans believed it was their manifest destiny, or God-given right, to stretch across the continent to the Pacific Ocean.

A3. Four people had gone to the Rocky Mountains and after returning, told of how their wagons navigated the trail with such ease. This proved wrong the people who believed that the Rocky Mountains were an obstacle to stop the Westward expansion of the Americans.

A4. Some undertook the journey just for the thrill of it or get away from the law. They also wanted to start a new life with prosperity and promises of better health in the warm weather.

A5. Fear of the unknown led the emigrants to believe that an encounter with the Indians meant death.

Daily Life On the Trail West:
B1. There were many things the pioneers had to do in preparation for the trail. Without freezers, they had little ways to preserve food so they packed the raw materials such as flour, dried beans, and bacon to make food as they traveled. They also needed supplies to set up their new homes and get them safely through the winter. This meant packing farming tools, cloth for clothing, extra materials and tools to fix broken wagon parts, weapons and ammunitions, all into a farm wagon. Additionally, they had to decide on whether they should use mules or oxen to pull the wagons.

B2. Emigrants traveled in groups called wagon trains. The formed these groups at one of the jumping-off points. On the journey west, wagon companies became mini-communities. There was usually an elected leader or they hired a guide who would decide upon the route they would take, where and when they would stop, the posting of the guards and the rotation of the wagons. It was extremely important that...
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