The Legacy of the Oregon Trail
The actual journey was not what Jesse Fremont had stated however. The trail was used beginning with the fur-traders and explorers who used it in the early 1820s and ended when the Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869. Most of the travelers were settlers who went through the paths of Independence, Missouri ending in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Tindall, Shi 502). They were hoping to find new opportunities in the west and had started the trip with high hopes, traveling the trail in ox-drawn wagons (Tindall, Shi 502). The journey however, was extremely difficult. Traveling the 2,000 mile trail, many of them walked along it barefooted. Rivers were hard to cross and the weather didn’t help either. The biggest problem however, was a disease called Cholera which claimed the lives of many travelers, averaging one grave every 80 yards along the trail (Tindall, Shi 503). Along the way however, they still adopted the same lifestyle as they had back in the east. The women took the chores of being a housewife doing things such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of their children while the men took the jobs of steering the wagon, taking care of the animals and doing heavy labor (Tindall, Shi 503). It was the demands of the Oregon Trail that started to test the travelers with new tasks. Women were then starting to do things such as gathering buffalo dung as fuel, pitching in help to get wagons out of the mud, and etc., mostly things that were very “unladylike” back in the day (Tindall, Shi 503). At the end of the trail, many of the settlers went about their own ways and started to establish stable communities (Tindall, Shi 503). The Oregon Trail played an important part in American history because it was the first path to western land. This route enabled the United States to fulfill its idea of Manifest Destiny, which was the expansion of United States territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Lands in which the trail went...
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