Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manifest Destiny

After Jackson's presidency came Martin Van Buren, he was known as the Little Magician. After Van Buren was William Henry Harrison, he wasn't president for long because he thought it would be a good idea to give a very long inauguration speech in the cold without a coat or a hat.

Harrison got sick...and died.

Then there was John Tyler, he....ummm...?

After Tyler was James K. Polk and he had the urge to head west.

Many settlers also got itchy feet and wanted to head west. Why? Because of Manifest Destiny!

this was the idea that it was the God given right for the United States to stretch from sea to shining sea!

Other reasons were to convert Indians to Christianity, to make money, and in the case of the Mormons, to find a place where people would leave them alone.

There were three main trails that people used to cross the Rocky Mountains. The first was the Santa Fe Trail. This trail started in Independence Missouri and ended at Santa Fe, New Mexico. It took about two months to get there.

The Oregon Trail was the longest and most famous [51]. This trail also started in Independence, Missouri and ended in Willamette Valley in Oregon. This was 2,000 mile journey and took around six months. During these six months, settlers found themselves in some bad situations such as, bad terrain, bad weather, and their ox dying of dysentery.

The Mormon Trail got its name because it was the Mormons who traveled on it. The Mormons were not a popular bunch and were pretty much chased away from everywhere they lived.

From New York to Ohio....

From Ohio to Missouri...

and from Missouri to Illinois...

In Illinois they built up a town called Nauvoo, but the Illinois residents were not friendly neighbors. A mob marched into Nauvoo and killed Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormons and sent the Mormons searching for a new home.

The Mormons headed west under a new leader, Brigham Young. They eventually settled in Utah, where they could practice their faith and avoid lynch mobs!

Migrating west was not an easy task, many died from disease, froze to death, or starved. One such unlucky group was known as the Donner Party, they got stuck in the Rocky Mountains during a snow storm. They resorted to eating members of their group who had died. Yup, nothing says fun like cannibalism!

[51] All the other trails were jealous.

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