Westward Expansion and the American Dream

Best Essays
Jake Tyler
U.S. History 1
12 April 2012

Westward Expansion and the American Dream
The experiences a nation undergoes often shape its national identity and define who they are as a country. Throughout the course of its history, America has developed a national identity which is the American Dream. The American Dream is defined as the qualities that make up America and most of its people they include; opportunity, success, determination, and ingenuity. Many events in American’s history highlight the idea of the American dream between the period of its creation and the 1900’s, but few have succeeded to exhibit all the qualities that make up this idea. One specific event in America’s history has succeeded in demonstrating the four qualities included in the American dream; this event is America’s period of Westward Expansion. The events that occurred during America’s Westward Expansion, although small, played a large role in exploiting and highlighting the qualities that make up the American Dream. The American Dream encompasses the qualities that make up America and most of its people. They include opportunity, determination, success, and American ingenuity. Opportunity best describes America and its identity rather than the identity of its people. America is often described as the land of opportunity and many people use this to live the American Dream. During the Period of Westward Expansion people from all over the United States came to settle in its new un-trodden lands to search for riches, and to take advantage of the opportunity it offered. Opportunity in the Western territories was known and present even before the creation of the nation. The west gave people the chance to mine for gold or to start anew in its growing cities. The ultimate goal for people emigrating to the west was to be successful and obtaining a better life. Many of the people achieved success by raising families, creating profitable farms, or becoming rich. Success is another large



Bibliography: [ 4 ]. Malcolm J. Rohrbough, Days of gold: The California Gold Rush and the American Nation (California: University of California Press, October 1998), 193.

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