Factors Encouraging the Migration west

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  • Factors encouraging migration west
    • Economic conditions in the East
      • 1837: an economic crisis in the East and South
        • banks collapsed, people lost savings, businesses failed and many lost their jobs.
          • push factors to make a new life in another part of America
            • Unemployment was very high and wage cuts were up to 40%
        • Unemployment was very high and wage cuts were up to 40%
    • Farmland in Oregon
      • Promise of free, rich farming land in the Rocky Mountains was a powerful pull factor.
        • sea-route was expensive, long and very dangerous
          • needed an over-land route that wagons could travel: most land was flat, except for the Rockies etc. mountains that acted as a barrier.
      • The Oregon Trail
        • The only practical way for migrants to get across the mountains with wagons.
        • replaced as the main way of travelling West by the first Transcontinental Railroad, 1869
      • Government help
        • Provided $30,000 for an expedition to map the Oregon trail and publish reports
          • John Fremont: made the Oregon trail exciting and achievable, making it manageable.
    • The Gold rush of 1849
      • April 1849: 100,000 left the East to travel to California because gold had been found in the Sierra Nevada
        • most were unsuccessful, so they stayed and became farmers.
        • California's population boomed and its economy grew rapidly: prospectors needed equipment, food, drink and entertainment, attracting new people.
      • Consequence
        • promoted the image of the West as the place where individuals could make success of their lives, get a new start, and be free and independent.
        • Farming in California grew: became a major exporting capital
        • money from the Gold Rush helped pay fr the First Transcontinental Railroad on 1869.
    • Manifest destiny
      • The belief that it was god's will for white people to take possession of the whole of the USA and make it productive and civilized.
      • carried the sense of an inevitable process: like a scientific law of God's will.


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