During the 1840s to the 1890s, the United States was focused on westward development and to fulfill the American belief of “Manifest Destiny”. Even though the west has a lot of grassy plains and desert (Doc. A), the western part of the United States quickly became the main target of expansionist movements/campaigns of the United States during the 18th century. Even though many factors contributed in shaping the development of the West beyond the Mississippi and the lives of those who lived and settled there, the natural environment of the area was the biggest factor in those changes. The natural environment, including minerals, land, and climate, have been some of the greatest factors, and other contributing factors include the convenience and availability of railroad systems and population changes of different areas,
The new image of the fertile West had brought many new settlers to live and explore there. The discovery of rich soil, grass, and minerals in the West led thousands of farmers, ranchers, and miners to settle there. The livelihood of these people depended almost entirely on the natural environment of the region, around which they were forced to shape their way of life. For example, the presence of desert between different types of lands created lots of unbalanced populations throughout the West (Doc. A). On favorable grounds such as San Antonio or San Francisco, dense concentrations of people would emerge in isolation, surrounded by nothing (Doc. D). Consequently, travelling to these areas before the arrival of the railroads became a formidable task often plagued with death and hardship, as the travelers were faced with miles of unending desert without any aid from established settlements (Doc. C). Moreover, aridity of the region made irrigation a necessity, and farms in places like California and the Southwest relied enormously on nearby rivers and streams for sustenance. Frequent droughts also constantly hampered the region, forcing many...
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