History of the American West
As far as history is concerned, prior to the settling of what we now, the great United States of America, minority groups of inhabitants are the first to established their living in that continent.Their lifestyle, tradition and culture are admirable as well as unique.The first inhabitants of the area are peaceful living natives of the land.
However, an entry has changed everything. The phrase mentioned above seemingly denotes the vast riches accumulated in American West from the national expanse that occurred during the westward American expansion.
As per history, it connotes the successive flow of riches in their area considering every line of factors such as trade, climate, events and other causation proofs that are evident even in today’s generation. Analyzing the phrases in the statement reveals claims of chain successive economic blooms, which is stated without adequate basis. However, the aggressive entry of American people over the west side has greatly affected the livings of various inhabitants in the area.
Tremendous effects of this entry have brought countless lives to experience suffrage in the early west side. The advancing foreigners tremendously hit the established communities of the native inhabitants causing massive degradation as well as damage in the land of these natives. The advances may have triggered advancement in the side of American people; however, there are those minority individuals and communities that suffered the damage of their actions. Moreover, the land filled with natural blessings has been ravaged by the suppressive citizens of America.
It is, indeed, a fact that the west side during those period of time is immersed in massive content of natural resources, geographically, topographically, climatic and most of all naturally. Another fact is, the resources have brought immense conquer in the land of the natives. For the American people, the west side has become their garden flowing with milk and honey. In this essay, we shall take a glimpse back in the past and analyze the scenario that occurred before and compare it in the statement imposed by Martin Ridge.
The claims of this treasury build-up are refuted in this paper. Various factors need to be considered before adhering in these false causations. Subjective narration without substantial basis cannot support this kind of claims, especially if the claim is way to opposite from what is reality. We shall analyze the pieces of this statement piece by piece, and critically scrutinize it to prove that such wordings are not even appropriate. “The history of the American West is, almost by definition, a triumphal narrative…”
Starting from the first part mentioned in the statement, connoting “triumphal narrative” depicts an entry of galore, glorious moment in the history and an event that everybody looks forward. However, does this statement really cover the facts embedded in the American West? Judging the factors, such as topographical, geographical and the natural advantages present in the place, can we still conclude the same conclusion mentioned in the statement? Crude to say but actually, the United States that we see today is very different compared before when the American people is still starting to colonize the west side.
Stephen H. Long, an American explorer who explored the some areas of the Louisiana Purchase in 1819, first gave the term, “Great American Desert” to illustrate the area roughly between the 98th parallel and the Rocky Mountains. In a series of maps and journals, Long described this region as “wholly unfit for cultivation and uninhabitable for those dependent on agriculture. ” Americans largely view Long’s negative impression of the trans-Mississippi as a barren wasteland for decades and most did not become interested in settling there until after the Civil War.
During 1803, the President Thomas Jefferson has had a secret conversation through a secret note that he has given to the Congress ordering for an expedition into the place west of the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. He has felt that a quality and smart military man with perhaps a dozen of handpicked crew can victoriously plot the entire route and do it on an estimation of roughly $2,500. Jefferson’s message is regarded secret due to France ownership in that territory. If this is found by the French Government, the expedition can be branded as trespassing.
This is the first view of those who seen this great desert; however, western boosters have come up with a plan in order to lure settlers in the area by promoting the “The Myth of the garden. ” In addition, during this period, France has offered a piece of territory in the west side, which is the whole Louisiana Territory, for $15,000,000. That same year, President Tomas Jefferson has his mind patched up and agreed to take the offer. Surprisingly, after an overnight, United States grew by about one million square miles, from the Mississippi to the Rockies and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
This event has greatly caused widening in the part of the America. During the late 1800’s, around 1870s and 1880s, climatic changes have begun to occur in this arid wasteland. This has encouraged the inhabitants to settle and stay put in this area. American settlers have started rampaging, packing up their luggage and migrated in the land of “Mythical West Garden”. This became the start of the native’s nightmare. The native settlers during this period are Indians and other minority groups; however, they have been driven away from their homelands by the aggressive and domineering Americans.
The stampede has occupied 430 million acres of land, which is actually twice the size of the nation. Furthermore, these settlers carved out ten new states until the three western-based commercial “empires” are established. Around 1865 and 1890 the American settlers have began their territorial rerouting and their way of income have been through mining, especially gold and silver; farming; and the cattle industry. During the westward expansion, widespread beliefs, activities, and objects influenced the daily existence of western emigrants. Moreover, the American settlers discovered the wide resources present in this area.
The long protected forests and the divine natural up-springs are all tarnished by the American advancement and modernization. Mining and deforestation has become two of the most devastating hazards accompanied by the advancement. The natural resources of the native Indians are greatly mistreated by the Americans. The trees are cut down in order to be replaced by the houses, establishments, and ranches for the American community. Homeland of the natives, and their territories have been pushed away without being considered by the Americans until, major forests and natural resources are greatly damaged and reduced.
In the end, the original forestry respected by the ancestors of Indian cultures and traditions have been tarnished and destroyed by the advancing colonizers. During the same year and time, Cowboys have been popularized. The estimate of 35,000 males has entered the profession of being a cowboy. 25% of them are black, 12% are Mexican and majority of them are White Americans, 63%. The herding of domesticated animals have lead into territorial overtake since, ranch requires these land hectares in order to place their animals. In the end, the space between Indians and American has grown smaller, particularly in the side of the Indians.
Because of this continuous threat, reckless advances and cruelty of American colonizers, the North America’s Indian forces started their civil war with the Americans. Around 1865, the Indian people have fought fiercely using their axes, bow and arrows and spears. However, they are still no match from the gunpowders and advance tools of the Americans. In the end, large reduction from their population occurred. This event has caused the forces of Indians to be weak and fragile. Many of their women have become slave workers for the Americans. Some have been persecuted and disregarded.
In the end, the Indians have become useless human beings. In 1860s, the Western Frontier has emerged and their definite aim is to transform the savagery of civilians battling over territories, towards a decent, moral and civilized individuals. The frontier reproduces American democracy and individualism – the frontier requires Americans to develop new institutions and “free land makes free men. ” The frontier migration targets the expanse of territory as well as accumulation of riches; however, savagery and conflicts have become the exchange of such actions.
Racial oppression not only for the Indians but also towards other cultural backgrounds occurs. The race of Hispanics, Blacks and Chinese has been greatly looked down by the Whites. The Hispanics during those times are traders as well Chinese, and these people are considered low class merchants; hence, the treatment pattern for these people as also low class. Degradation, racial and social discrimination are also the biggest issues during this period. The blacks, aside from Indians, are the ones who suffered the tremendous discriminative character of the whites. They are regarded as lowly individuals and most of them are treated as slaves.
People during this time are greatly quarrelling mostly about their material properties and belongings, but little do they know that there are people being stepped aside and being ignored by their reckless actions. In the end, the effect boils down to those discriminated races and they are the ones that suffered because of the reckless and greedy actions of the Whites. One of the biggest historical events in this period is the Gold Rush, wherein the substance of interest is non-other than gold. The out-migration of non-natives following the Gold rush has given the Indians renewed numerical importance.
The discovery of Gold in California and other nearby mines has lead easterners to migrate in the said are in order to have their part in this gold galore. This event has caused great multitude of immigrants coming from local and foreign lands. The situation has damaged mines; natural resources and influx of people have led into chaotic way of life. The situation of the people especially the original inhabitants of the area, which is the natives, has greatly worsened by the migratory frontiers. Going back to the statement of Martin Ridge,
“The history of the American West is, almost by definition, a triumphal narrative for it traces a virtually unbroken chain of successes in national expansion” This is indeed a refutable statement. The Americans may have entered the land of Mythical Desert Garden; however, there are many people that have suffered because of their ruthless actions. It may be triumphal because they have overtaken the natives, but the natural resources and the craving of their hands have been diminished. In the end, the statement remains doubtful for there are so many sacrifices that are heavier that the rewards they have taken.