Settlement of the West

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Settlement of the West

With the closing of the frontier and the turn of the 20th century, the west side of America was becoming heavily populated and settled in. For America this meant many resources were needed in order to accelerate the expansion of the west. The development of the west brought many problems. How would you transport goods, to and from the east? Before any settlements were possible, a means of easy transportation was essential.

In 1862 the Pacific Railway Act was passed, offering incentives to two competing companies. The two competing companies were known as the Central Pacific and Union Pacific. The incentives to finish the railroad include large parcels of land and subsidies along the tracks they paved. They were also given financial aid by the government and with this they became very wealthy. This massive construction called for many workers. Most of the workers were immigrants, mostly Irish and Chinese. The workers lived in extremely unsanitary towns and in very harsh conditions creating many problems.

Another contributing factor to the expansion of the west is also the passing of the Homestead Act. The act encouraged settlers to move westward by granting each of them 160 acres to farm on and eventually do as they pled with their land. Unfortunately, farming in the plains was not as easy as planned. The land in the west is very dry and not like the east. New farming methods were required in order to survive. Also farms did not support many small families that planned to move west. Since most of the land was used for farming, getting crucial products became significantly more difficult. The Homestead Act also interfered with Native American’s that had been living in the areas granted. For the years to come, many bloody territory wars had sparked between America and the natives leaving a lot of tension between each group for year to come.

The west brought many new business opportunities including mining. In 1858, silver was...
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