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This era of massive migration and settlement was particularly encouraged by President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase , giving rise to the expansionist philosophy known as " Manifest Destiny " and the frontierist " Frontier Thesis ".

A frontier is a zone of contact at the edge of a line of settlement. Leading theorist Frederick Jackson Turner went deeper, arguing that the frontier was the defining process of American civilization: "The frontier," he asserted, "promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people.

Enormous popular attention was focused on the Western United States especially the Southwest in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, from the s to the s.

Such media typically exaggerated the romance, anarchy, and chaotic violence of the period for greater dramatic effect.

This inspired the Western genre of film, along with television shows , novels , comic books , video games , children's toys and costumes.

As defined by Hine and Faragher, "frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states.

Turner, in his " Frontier Thesis " , theorized that the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, the Americans, whose values focused on equality, democracy, and optimism, as well as individualism , self-reliance, and even violence.

As the American frontier passed into history, the myths of the West in fiction and film took a firm hold in the imaginations of Americans and foreigners alike.

In David Murdoch's view, America is exceptional in choosing its iconic self-image: "No other nation has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America's creation of the West.

The frontier is the margin of undeveloped territory that would comprise the United States beyond the established frontier line. Census Bureau designated frontier territory as generally unoccupied land with a population density of fewer than 2 people per square mile.

The frontier line was the outer boundary of European-American settlement into this land. Pockets of settlements would also appear far past the established frontier line, particularly on the West Coast and the deep interior with settlements such as Los Angeles and Salt Lake City respectively.

The " West " was the recently settled area near that boundary. At times, "some definitions of the region include all land west of the Mississippi or Missouri rivers.

In the colonial era, before , the west was of high priority for settlers and politicians. The American frontier began when Jamestown , Virginia, was settled by the English in In the earliest days of European settlement of the Atlantic coast, until about , the frontier was essentially any part of the interior of the continent beyond the fringe of existing settlements along the Atlantic coast.

Only a few thousand French migrated to Canada; these habitants settled in villages along the St. Lawrence River , building communities that remained stable for long stretches; they did not simply jump west the way the British did.

Although French fur traders ranged widely through the Great Lakes and midwest region they seldom settled down. French settlement was limited to a few very small villages such as Kaskaskia, Illinois [14] as well as a larger settlement around New Orleans.

Likewise, the Dutch setup fur trading posts in the Hudson River valley, followed by large grants of land to rich landowning patroons who brought in tenant farmers who created compact, permanent villages.

They created a dense rural settlement in upstate New York, but they did not push westward. Areas in the north that were in the frontier stage by generally had poor transportation facilities, so the opportunity for commercial agriculture was low.

These areas remained primarily in subsistence agriculture, and as a result, by the s these societies were highly egalitarian, as explained by historian Jackson Turner Main:.

The typical frontier society, therefore, was one in which class distinctions were minimized. The wealthy speculator, if one was involved, usually remained at home, so that ordinarily no one of wealth was a resident.

The class of landless poor was small. The great majority were landowners, most of whom were also poor because they were starting with little property and had not yet cleared much land nor had they acquired the farm tools and animals which would one day make them prosperous.

Few artisans settled on the frontier except for those who practiced a trade to supplement their primary occupation of farming. There might be a storekeeper, a minister, and perhaps a doctor; and there were several landless laborers.

All the rest were farmers. In the South, frontier areas that lacked transportation, such as the Appalachian Mountain region, remained based on subsistence farming and resembled the egalitarianism of their northern counterparts, although they had a larger upper-class of slaveowners.

North Carolina was representative. However, frontier areas of that had good river connections were increasingly transformed into plantation agriculture.

Rich men came in, bought up the good land, and worked it with slaves. The area was no longer "frontier". It had a stratified society comprising a powerful upper-class white landowning gentry, a small middle-class, a fairly large group of landless or tenant white farmers, and a growing slave population at the bottom of the social pyramid.

Unlike the North, where small towns and even cities were common, the South was overwhelmingly rural. The seaboard colonial settlements gave priority to land ownership for individual farmers, and as the population grew they pushed westward for fresh farmland.

Land ownership brought a degree of independence as well as a vote for local and provincial offices. The typical New England settlements were quite compact and small, under a square mile.

Conflict with the Native Americans arose out of political issues, namely who would rule. Most of the frontiers experienced Native wars. The series of large wars spilling over from European wars ended in a complete victory for the British in the worldwide Seven Years' War.

In the peace treaty of , France lost practically everything, as the lands west of the Mississippi River, in addition to Florida and New Orleans, went to Spain.

Otherwise, lands east of the Mississippi River and what is now Canada went to Britain. Regardless of wars Americans were moving across the Appalachians into western Pennsylvania, what is now West Virginia, and areas of the Ohio Country , Kentucky, and Tennessee.

In the southern settlements via the Cumberland Gap , their most famous leader was Daniel Boone , [23] Young George Washington promoted settlements in West Virginia on lands awarded to him and his soldiers by the Royal government in payment for their wartime service in Virginia's militia.

West of the mountains, settlements were curtailed briefly by the Royal Proclamation of , which forbade settlement west of the Appalachians.

However the Treaty of Fort Stanwix re-opened most of the western lands for frontiersmen to settle. The nation was at peace after The states gave Congress control of the western lands and an effective system for population expansion was developed.

The Northwest Ordinance of abolished slavery in the area north of the Ohio River and promised statehood when a territory reached a threshold population, as Ohio did in The first major movement west of the Appalachian mountains originated in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina as soon as the Revolutionary War ended in Pioneers housed themselves in a rough lean-to or at most a one-room log cabin.

The main food supply at first came from hunting deer, turkeys, and other abundant game. Clad in typical frontier garb, leather breeches, moccasins, fur cap, and hunting shirt, and girded by a belt from which hung a hunting knife and a shot pouch—all homemade—the pioneer presented a unique appearance.

In a short time he opened in the woods a patch, or clearing, on which he grew corn, wheat, flax, tobacco, and other products, even fruit.

In a few years, the pioneer added hogs, sheep, and cattle, and perhaps acquired a horse. Homespun clothing replaced the animal skins.

The land policy of the new nation was conservative, paying special attention to the needs of the settled East. By the s, however, the West was filling up with squatters who had no legal deed, although they may have paid money to previous settlers.

The Jacksonian Democrats favored the squatters by promising rapid access to cheap land. By contrast, Henry Clay was alarmed at the "lawless rabble" heading West who were undermining the utopian concept of a law-abiding, stable middle-class republican community.

Rich southerners, meanwhile, looked for opportunities to buy high-quality land to set up slave plantations. After winning the Revolutionary War , American settlers in large numbers poured into the west.

In , American pioneers to the Northwest Territory established Marietta, Ohio , as the first permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory.

It was later lengthened to reach the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville. The Wilderness Road was steep and rough, and it could only be traversed on foot or horseback, but it was the best route for thousands of settlers moving into Kentucky.

In alone, Indians killed over travelers on the Wilderness Road. Kentucky at this time had been depopulated—it was "empty of Indian villages. One of those intercepted was Abraham Lincoln 's grandfather, who was scalped in near Louisville.

The War of marked the final confrontation involving major British and Indian forces fighting to stop American expansion. The British war goal included the creation of an Indian barrier state under British auspices in the Midwest which would halt American expansion westward.

The death in battle of the Indian leader Tecumseh dissolved the coalition of hostile Indian tribes. In general, the frontiersmen battled the Indians with little help from the U.

Army or the federal government. To end the war, American diplomats negotiated the Treaty of Ghent , signed towards the end of , with Britain.

They rejected the British plan to set up an Indian state in U. They explained the American policy toward the acquisition of Indian lands:.

The United States, while intending never to acquire lands from the Indians otherwise than peaceably, and with their free consent, are fully determined, in that manner, progressively, and in proportion as their growing population may require, to reclaim from the state of nature, and to bring into cultivation every portion of the territory contained within their acknowledged boundaries.

In thus providing for the support of millions of civilized beings, they will not violate any dictate of justice or humanity; for they will not only give to the few thousand savages scattered over that territory an ample equivalent for any right they may surrender, but will always leave them the possession of lands more than they can cultivate, and more than adequate to their subsistence, comfort, and enjoyment, by cultivation.

If this is a spirit of aggrandizement, the undersigned are prepared to admit, in that sense, its existence; but they must deny that it affords the slightest proof of an intention not to respect the boundaries between them and European nations, or of a desire to encroach upon the territories of Great Britain.

As settlers poured in, the frontier districts first became territories, with an elected legislature and a governor appointed by the president.

Then when the population reached , the territory applied for statehood. In the western frontier had reached the Mississippi River.

Louis, Missouri , was the largest town on the frontier, the gateway for travel westward, and a principal trading center for Mississippi River traffic and inland commerce but remained under Spanish control until Thomas Jefferson thought of himself as a man of the frontier and was keenly interested in expanding and exploring the West.

France was paid for its sovereignty over the territory in terms of international law. Between and the s, the federal government purchased the actual land from the Indian tribes then in possession of it.

Additional sums were paid to the Indians living east of the Mississippi for their lands, as well as payments to Indians living in parts of the west outside the Louisiana Purchase.

Even before the purchase, Jefferson was planning expeditions to explore and map the lands. He charged Lewis and Clark to "explore the Missouri River, and such principal stream of it, as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean; whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado, or any other river may offer the most direct and practicable communication across the continent for commerce".

Entrepreneurs, most notably John Jacob Astor quickly seized the opportunity and expanded fur trading operations into the Pacific Northwest. Astor's " Fort Astoria " later Fort George , at the mouth of the Columbia River, became the first permanent white settlement in that area, although it was not profitable for Astor.

He set up the American Fur Company in an attempt to break the hold that the Hudson's Bay Company monopoly had over the region.

By , Astor had taken over independent traders to create a profitable monopoly; he left the business as a multi-millionaire in As the frontier moved west, trappers and hunters moved ahead of settlers, searching out new supplies of beaver and other skins for shipment to Europe.

The hunters were the first Europeans in much of the Old West and they formed the first working relationships with the Native Americans in the West.

Discovered about , it later became a major route for settlers to Oregon and Washington. By , however, a new "brigade-rendezvous" system sent company men in "brigades" cross-country on long expeditions, bypassing many tribes.

It also encouraged "free trappers" to explore new regions on their own. At the end of the gathering season, the trappers would "rendezvous" and turn in their goods for pay at river ports along the Green River , Upper Missouri, and the Upper Mississippi.

Louis was the largest of the rendezvous towns. By , however, fashions changed and beaver hats were replaced by silk hats, ending the demand for expensive American furs.

The trade-in beaver fur virtually ceased by There was wide agreement on the need to settle the new territories quickly, but the debate polarized over the price the government should charge.

The conservatives and Whigs, typified by the president John Quincy Adams , wanted a moderated pace that charged the newcomers enough to pay the costs of the federal government.

The Democrats, however, tolerated a wild scramble for land at very low prices. The final resolution came in the Homestead Law of , with a moderated pace that gave settlers acres free after they worked on it for five years.

The private profit motive dominated the movement westward, [50] but the Federal Government played a supporting role in securing the land through treaties and setting up territorial governments, with governors appointed by the President.

The federal government first acquired western territory through treaties with other nations or native tribes.

Then it sent surveyors to map and document the land. Transportation was a key issue and the Army especially the Army Corps of Engineers was given full responsibility for facilitating navigation on the rivers.

The steamboat, first used on the Ohio River in , made possible inexpensive travel using the river systems, especially the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries.

For example, the Army's steamboat "Western Engineer" of combined a very shallow draft with one of the earliest stern wheels. In —25, Colonel Henry Atkinson developed keelboats with hand-powered paddle wheels.

The federal postal system played a crucial role in national expansion. It facilitated expansion into the West by creating an inexpensive, fast, convenient communication system.

Letters from early settlers provided information and boosterism to encourage increased migration to the West, helped scattered families stay in touch and provide neutral help, assisted entrepreneurs to find business opportunities, and made possible regular commercial relationships between merchants and the West and wholesalers and factories back east.

The postal service likewise assisted the Army in expanding control over the vast western territories.

The widespread circulation of important newspapers by mail, such as the New York Weekly Tribune , facilitated coordination among politicians in different states.

The postal service helped to integrate already established areas with the frontier, creating a spirit of nationalism and providing a necessary infrastructure.

The army early on assumed the mission of protecting settlers along with the Westward Expansion Trails , a policy that was described by Secretary of War John B.

Floyd in [58]. There was a debate at the time about the best size for the forts with Jefferson Davis , Winfield Scott , and Thomas Jesup supporting forts that were larger but fewer in number than Floyd.

Floyd's plan was more expensive but had the support of settlers and the general public who preferred that the military remain as close as possible.

The frontier area was vast and even Davis conceded that "concentration would have exposed portions of the frontier to Indian hostilities without any protection.

Government and private enterprise sent many explorers to the West. In —, Army lieutenant Zebulon Pike — led a party of 20 soldiers to find the headwaters of the Mississippi.

On his return, Pike sighted the peak in Colorado named after him. In , naturalists Thomas Nuttall — and John Bradbury — traveled up the Missouri River documenting and drawing plant and animal life.

Swiss artist Karl Bodmer made compelling landscapes and portraits. He displayed a talent for exploration and a genius at self-promotion that gave him the sobriquet of "Pathmarker of the West" and led him to the presidential nomination of the new Republican Party in He crossed through the Rocky Mountains by five different routes and mapped parts of Oregon and California.

In —, he played a role in conquering California. It caught the public imagination and inspired many to head west. Goetzman says it was "monumental in its breadth, a classic of exploring literature".

While colleges were springing up across the Northeast, there was little competition on the western frontier for Transylvania University , founded in Lexington, Kentucky, in It boasted of a law school in addition to its undergraduate and medical programs.

Transylvania attracted politically ambitious young men from across the Southwest, including 50 who became United States senators, representatives, 36 governors, and 34 ambassadors, as well as Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

The established Eastern churches were slow to meet the needs of the frontier. The Presbyterians and Congregationalists, since they depended on well-educated ministers, were shorthanded in evangelizing the frontier.

They set up a Plan of Union of to combine resources on the frontier. The local pioneers responded enthusiastically to these events and, in effect, evolved their populist religions, especially during the Second Great Awakening — , which featured outdoor camp meetings lasting a week or more and which introduced many people to organized religion for the first time.

One of the largest and most famous camp meetings took place at Cane Ridge, Kentucky , in The local Baptists set up small independent churches—Baptists abjured centralized authority; each local church was founded on the principle of independence of the local congregation.

On the other hand, bishops of the well-organized, centralized Methodists assigned circuit riders to specific areas for several years at a time, then moved them to fresh territory.

Several new denominations were formed, of which the largest was the Disciples of Christ. Historian Mark Wyman calls Wisconsin a "palimpsest" of layer upon layer of peoples and forces, each imprinting permanent influences.

He identified these layers as multiple "frontiers" over three centuries: Native American frontier, French frontier, English frontier, fur-trade frontier, mining frontier, and the logging frontier.

Finally, the coming of the railroad brought the end of the frontier. Frederick Jackson Turner grew up in Wisconsin during its last frontier stage, and in his travels around the state, he could see the layers of social and political development.

One of Turner's last students, Merle Curti used an in-depth analysis of local Wisconsin history to test Turner's thesis about democracy. Turner's view was that American democracy, "involved widespread participation in the making of decisions affecting the common life, the development of initiative and self-reliance, and equality of economic and cultural opportunity.

It thus also involved Americanization of immigrant. He found that even landless young farmworkers were soon able to obtain their farms.

Free land on the frontier, therefore, created opportunity and democracy, for both European immigrants as well as old stock Yankees. From the s to the s, pioneers moved into the new lands that stretched from Kentucky to Alabama to Texas.

Most were farmers who moved in family groups. Historian Louis Hacker shows how wasteful the first generation of pioneers was; they were too ignorant to cultivate the land properly and when the natural fertility of virgin land was used up, they sold out and moved west to try again.

Hacker describes that in Kentucky about Farms were for sale with from ten to fifty acres cleared, possessing log houses, peach and sometimes apple orchards, enclosed in fences, and having plenty of standing timber for fuel.

The land was sown in wheat and corn, which were the staples, while hemp [for making rope] was being cultivated in increasing quantities in the fertile river bottoms Yet, on the whole, it was an agricultural society without skill or resources.

It committed all those sins which characterize wasteful and ignorant husbandry. Grass seed was not sown for hay and as a result, the farm animals had to forage for themselves in the forests; the fields were not permitted to lie in pasturage; a single crop was planted in the soil until the land was exhausted; the manure was not returned to the fields; only a small part of the farm was brought under cultivation, the rest being permitted to stand in timber.

Instruments of cultivation were rude and clumsy and only too few, many of them being made on the farm.

It is plain why the American frontier settler was on the move continually. It was, not his fear of too close contact with the comforts and restraints of a civilized society that stirred him into a ceaseless activity, nor merely the chance of selling out at a profit to the coming wave of settlers; it was his wasting land that drove him on.

Hunger was the goad. The pioneer farmer's ignorance, his inadequate facilities for cultivation, his limited means, of transport necessitated his frequent changes of scene.

He could succeed only with virgin soil. Hacker adds that the second wave of settlers reclaimed the land, repaired the damage, and practiced more sustainable agriculture.

Historian Frederick Jackson Turner explored the individualistic worldview and values of the first generation:. What they objected to was arbitrary obstacles, artificial limitations upon the freedom of each member of this frontier folk to work out his career without fear or favor.

What they instinctively opposed was the crystallization of differences, the monopolization of opportunity, and the fixing of that monopoly by government or by social customs.

The road must be open. The game must be played according to the rules. There must be no artificial stifling of equality of opportunity, no closed doors to the able, no stopping the free game before it was played to the end.

Manifest Destiny was the belief that the United States was preordained to expand from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. The concept was expressed during Colonial times, but the term was coined in the s by a popular magazine which editorialized, "the fulfillment of our manifest destiny In the s the Tyler and Polk administrations —49 successfully promoted this nationalistic doctrine.

However, the Whig Party , which represented business and financial interests, stood opposed to Manifest Destiny. Whig leaders such as Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln called for deepening the society through modernization and urbanization instead of simple horizontal- expansion.

John Quincy Adams , an anti-slavery Whig, felt the Texas annexation in to be "the heaviest calamity that ever befell me and my country".

Mexico became independent of Spain in and took over Spain's northern possessions stretching from Texas to California. Santa Fe was also the trailhead for the "El Camino Real" the King's Highway , a trade route which carried American manufactured goods southward deep into Mexico and returned silver, furries, and mules northward not to be confused with another "Camino Real" which connected the missions in California.

The Spanish and Mexican governments attracted American settlers to Texas with generous terms. Stephen F. Austin became an "impresario", receiving contracts from the Mexican officials to bring in immigrants.

In doing so, he also became the de facto political and military commander of the area. Tensions rose, however, after an abortive attempt to establish the independent nation of Fredonia in William Travis , leading the "war party", advocated for independence from Mexico, while the "peace party" led by Austin attempted to get more autonomy within the current relationship.

When Mexican president Santa Anna shifted alliances and joined the conservative Centralist party, he declared himself dictator and ordered soldiers into Texas to curtail new immigration and unrest.

However, immigration continued and 30, Anglos with 3, slaves were settled in Texas by Remember Goliad".

The U. Congress declined to annex Texas, stalemated by contentious arguments over slavery and regional power. Thus, the Republic of Texas remained an independent power for nearly a decade before it was annexed as the 28th state in The government of Mexico, however, viewed Texas as a runaway province and asserted its ownership.

Mexico refused to recognize the independence of Texas in , but the U. Mexico threatened war if Texas joined the U.

American negotiators were turned away by a Mexican government in turmoil. When the Mexican army killed 16 American soldiers in disputed territory war was at hand.

Whigs , such as Congressman Abraham Lincoln denounced the war, but it was quite popular outside New England. The Mexican strategy was defensive; the American strategy was a three-pronged offensive, using large numbers of volunteer soldiers.

From the main American base at New Orleans, General Zachary Taylor led forces into northern Mexico, winning a series of battles that ensued. Navy transported General Winfield Scott to Veracruz.

He then marched his 12,man force west to Mexico City, winning the final battle at Chapultepec. Talk of acquiring all of Mexico fell away when the army discovered the Mexican political and cultural values were so alien to America's.

As the Cincinnati Herald asked, what would the U. The Gadsden Purchase in added southern Arizona, which was needed for a railroad route to California.

In all Mexico ceded half a million square miles 1. Managing the new territories and dealing with the slavery issue caused intense controversy, particularly over the Wilmot Proviso , which would have outlawed slavery in the new territories.

Congress never passed it, but rather temporarily resolved the issue of slavery in the West with the Compromise of California entered the Union in as a free state; the other areas remained territories for many years.

The new state grew rapidly as migrants poured into the fertile cotton lands of east Texas. The central area of the state was developed more by subsistence farmers who seldom owned slaves.

Texas in its Wild West days attracted men who could shoot straight and possessed the zest for adventure, "for masculine renown, patriotic service, martial glory, and meaningful deaths".

In about 10, Californios Hispanics lived in California, primarily on cattle ranches in what is now the Los Angeles area.

A few hundred foreigners were scattered in the northern districts, including some Americans. With the outbreak of war with Mexico in the U.

Army unit, as well as naval forces, and quickly took control. Thousands of "Forty-Niners" reached California, by sailing around South America or taking a short-cut through disease-ridden Panama , or walked the California trail.

The population soared to over , in , mostly in the gold districts that stretched into the mountains east of San Francisco.

Housing in San Francisco was at a premium, and abandoned ships whose crews had headed for the mines were often converted to temporary lodging.

In the goldfields themselves, living conditions were primitive, though the mild climate proved attractive.

Supplies were expensive and food poor, typical diets consisting mostly of pork, beans, and whiskey. These highly male, transient communities with no established institutions were prone to high levels of violence, drunkenness, profanity, and greed-driven behavior.

Without courts or law officers in the mining communities to enforce claims and justice, miners developed their ad hoc legal system, based on the "mining codes" used in other mining communities abroad.

Each camp had its own rules and often handed out justice by popular vote, sometimes acting fairly and at times exercising vigilantes; with Indians, Mexicans, and Chinese generally receiving the harshest sentences.

The gold rush radically changed the California economy and brought in an array of professionals, including precious metal specialists, merchants, doctors, and attorneys, who added to the population of miners, saloon keepers, gamblers, and prostitutes.

A San Francisco newspaper stated, "The whole country Violent bandits often preyed upon the miners, such as the case of Jonathan R.

Davis ' killing of eleven bandits single-handedly. In a few years, nearly all of the independent miners were displaced as mines were purchased and run by mining companies, who then hired low-paid salaried miners.

As gold became harder to find and more difficult to extract, individual prospectors gave way to paid work gangs, specialized skills, and mining machinery.

Bigger mines, however, caused greater environmental damage. In the mountains, shaft mining predominated, producing large amounts of waste.

Beginning in , at the end of the '49 gold rush, through , hydraulic mining was used. Despite huge profits being made, it fell into the hands of a few capitalists, displaced numerous miners, vast amounts of waste entered river systems, and did heavy ecological damage to the environment.

Hydraulic mining ended when the public outcry over the destruction of farmlands led to the outlawing of this practice.

The mountainous areas of the triangle from New Mexico to California to South Dakota contained hundreds of hard rock mining sites, where prospectors discovered gold, silver, copper and other minerals as well as some soft-rock coal.

Temporary mining camps sprang up overnight; most became ghost towns when the ores were depleted. Prospectors spread out and hunted for gold and silver along the Rockies and in the southwest.

The wealth from silver, more than from gold, fueled the maturation of San Francisco in the s and helped the rise of some of its wealthiest families, such as that of George Hearst.

They moved in large groups under an experienced wagonmaster, bringing their clothing, farm supplies, weapons, and animals.

These wagon trains followed major rivers, crossed prairies and mountains, and typically ended in Oregon and California.

Pioneers generally attempted to complete the journey during a single warm season, usually for six months. By , when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri , a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho.

Trails were cleared further and further west, eventually reaching the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This network of wagon trails leading to the Pacific Northwest was later called the Oregon Trail.

The eastern half of the route was also used by travelers on the California Trail from , Mormon Trail from , and Bozeman Trail from before they turned off to their separate destinations.

In the "Wagon Train of ", some to 1, emigrants headed for Oregon; missionary Marcus Whitman led the wagons on the last leg. Some did so because they were discouraged and defeated.

Some returned with bags of gold and silver. Most were returning to pick up their families and move them all back west. These "gobacks" were a major source of information and excitement about the wonders and promises—and dangers and disappointments—of the far West.

Not all emigrants made it to their destination. The dangers of the overland route were numerous: snakebites, wagon accidents, violence from other travelers, suicide, malnutrition, stampedes, Indian attacks, a variety of diseases dysentery , typhoid , and cholera were among the most common , exposure, avalanches, etc.

One particularly well-known example of the treacherous nature of the journey is the story of the ill-fated Donner Party , which became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the winter of — in which nearly half of the 90 people traveling with the group died from starvation and exposure, and some resorted to cannibalism to survive.

There were also frequent attacks from bandits and highwaymen , such as the infamous Harpe brothers who patrolled the frontier routes and targeted migrant groups.

In Missouri and Illinois, animosity between the Mormon settlers and locals grew, which would mirror those in other states such as Utah years later.

Violence finally erupted on October 24, , when militias from both sides clashed and a mass killing of Mormons in Livingston County occurred 6 days later.

A hundred rural Mormon settlements sprang up in what Young called " Deseret ", which he ruled as a theocracy.

It later became Utah Territory. Young's Salt Lake City settlement served as the hub of their network, which reached into neighboring territories as well.

The communalism and advanced farming practices of the Mormons enabled them to succeed. The great threat to the Mormons in Utah was the U.

The Republican Party swore to destroy polygamy, which it saw as an affront to religious, cultural, and moral values of modern civilization.

Confrontations verged on open warfare in the late s as President Buchanan sent in troops. Although there were no military battles fought, and negotiations led to a stand down, violence still escalated and there were several casualties.

Finally, in , the Church leadership announced polygamy was no longer a central tenet, and a compromise was reached, with Utah becoming a state and the Mormons dividing into Republicans and Democrats.

The federal government provided subsidies for the development of mail and freight delivery, and by , Congress authorized road improvements and an overland mail service to California.

The new commercial wagon trains service primarily hauled freight. In John Butterfield —69 established a stage service that went from Saint Louis to San Francisco in 24 days along a southern route.

William Russell, hoping to get a government contract for more rapid mail delivery service, started the Pony Express in , cutting delivery time to ten days.

In Congress passed the Land-Grant Telegraph Act which financed the construction of Western Union's transcontinental telegraph lines.

Hiram Sibley , Western Union's head, negotiated exclusive agreements with railroads to run telegraph lines along their right-of-way.

Eight years before the transcontinental railroad opened, the First Transcontinental Telegraph linked Omaha, Nebraska, to San Francisco on October 24, Constitutionally, Congress could not deal with slavery in the states but it did have jurisdiction in the western territories.

California unanimously rejected slavery in and became a free state. New Mexico allowed slavery, but it was rarely seen there. Kansas was off-limits to slavery by the Compromise of Free Soil elements feared that if slavery were allowed rich planters would buy up the best lands and work them with gangs of slaves, leaving little opportunity for free white men to own farms.

Few Southern planters were interested in Kansas, but the idea that slavery was illegal there implied they had a second-class status that was intolerable to their sense of honor, and seemed to violate the principle of state's rights.

With the passage of the extremely controversial Kansas—Nebraska Act in , Congress left the decision up to the voters on the ground in Kansas.

Across the North, a new major party was formed to fight slavery: the Republican Party , with numerous westerners in leadership positions, most notably Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.

To influence the territorial decision, anti-slavery elements also called "Jayhawkers" or "Free-soilers" financed the migration of politically determined settlers.

But pro-slavery advocates fought back with pro-slavery settlers from Missouri. The antislavery forces took over by , as Kansas became a free state.

The episode demonstrated that a democratic compromise between North and South over slavery was impossible and served to hasten the Civil War.

Despite its large territory, the trans-Mississippi West had a small population and its wartime story has to a large extent been underplayed in the historiography of the American Civil War.

The Confederacy engaged in several important campaigns in the West. However, Kansas, a major area of conflict building up to the war, was the scene of only one battle, at Mine Creek.

But its proximity to Confederate lines enabled pro-Confederate guerrillas, such as Quantrill's Raiders , to attack Union strongholds and massacre the residents.

In Texas, citizens voted to join the Confederacy; anti-war Germans were hanged. Confederate Arizona was created by Arizona citizens who wanted protection against Apache raids after the United States Army units were moved out.

The Confederacy then sets its sight to gain control of the New Mexico Territory. General Henry Hopkins Sibley was tasked for the campaign, and together with his New Mexico Army , marched right up the Rio Grande in an attempt to take the mineral wealth of Colorado as well as California.

The First Regiment of Volunteers discovered the rebels, and they immediately warned and joined the Yankees at Fort Union.

The Battle of Glorieta Pass soon erupted, and the Union ended the Confederate campaign and the area west of Texas remained in Union hands.

Missouri , a Union state where slavery was legal, became a battleground when the pro-secession governor, against the vote of the legislature, led troops to the federal arsenal at St.

Louis ; he was aided by Confederate forces from Arkansas and Louisiana. Louis and all of Missouri for the Union.

The state was the scene of numerous raids and guerrilla warfare in the west. Army after established a series of military posts across the frontier, designed to stop warfare among Indian tribes or between Indians and settlers.

Throughout the 19th century, Army officers typically served built their careers in peacekeeper roles moving from fort to fort until retirement. Actual combat experience was uncommon for any one soldier.

The most dramatic conflict was the Sioux war in Minnesota in when Dakota tribes systematically attacked German farms to drive out the settlers.

The state militia fought back and Lincoln sent in federal troops. The federal government tried Indians for murder, and were convicted and sentenced to death.

Lincoln pardoned the majority, but 38 leaders were hanged. The decreased presence of Union troops in the West left behind untrained militias; hostile tribes used the opportunity to attack settlers.

The militia struck back hard, most notably by attacking the winter quarters of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, filled with women and children, at the Sand Creek massacre in eastern Colorado in late Kit Carson and the U.

Army in trapped the entire Navajo tribe in New Mexico, where they had been raiding settlers and put them on a reservation.

The result by was millions of new farms in the Plains states, many operated by new immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia. With the war over and slavery abolished, the federal government focused on improving the governance of the territories.

It subdivided several territories, preparing them for statehood, following the precedents set by the Northwest Ordinance of It standardized procedures and the supervision of territorial governments, taking away some local powers, and imposing much "red tape", growing the federal bureaucracy significantly.

Federal involvement in the territories was considerable. In addition to direct subsidies, the federal government maintained military posts, provided safety from Indian attacks, bankrolled treaty obligations, conducted surveys and land sales, built roads, staffed land offices, made harbor improvements, and subsidized overland mail delivery.

Territorial citizens came to both decry federal power and local corruption, and at the same time, lament that more federal dollars were not sent their way.

Territorial governors were political appointees and beholden to Washington so they usually governed with a light hand, allowing the legislatures to deal with the local issues.

In addition to his role as civil governor, a territorial governor was also a militia commander, a local superintendent of Indian affairs, and the state liaison with federal agencies.

The legislatures, on the other hand, spoke for the local citizens and they were given considerable leeway by the federal government to make local law.

These improvements to governance still left plenty of room for profiteering. As Mark Twain wrote while working for his brother, the secretary of Nevada, "The government of my country snubs honest simplicity but fondles artistic villainy, and I think I might have developed into a very capable pickpocket if I had remained in the public service a year or two.

In acquiring, preparing, and distributing public land to private ownership, the federal government generally followed the system set forth by the Land Ordinance of Federal exploration and scientific teams would undertake reconnaissance of the land and determine Native American habitation.

Through treaties, the land titles would be ceded by the resident tribes. Townships would be formed from the lots and sold at public auction.

As part of public policy, the government would award public land to certain groups such as veterans, through the use of "land script".

As a counter to land speculators, farmers formed "claims clubs" to enable them to buy larger tracts than the acre 0.

In , Congress passed three important bills that transformed the land system. The Homestead Act granted acres 0. The only cost was a modest filing fee.

The law was especially important in the settling of the Plains states. Many took a free homestead and others purchased their land from railroads at low rates.

The Pacific Railroad Act of provided for the land needed to build the transcontinental railroad. The land was given the railroads alternated with government-owned tracts saved for free distribution to homesteaders.

Railroads had up to five years to sell or mortgage their land, after tracks were laid, after which unsold land could be purchased by anyone.

Often railroads sold some of their government acquired land to homesteaders immediately to encourage settlement and the growth of markets the railroads would then be able to serve.

Nebraska railroads in the s were strong boosters of lands along their routes. They sent agents to Germany and Scandinavia with package deals that included cheap transportation for the family as well as its furniture and farm tools, and they offered long-term credit at low rates.

Boosterism succeeded in attracting adventurous American and European families to Nebraska , helping them purchase land grant parcels on good terms.

The selling price depended on such factors as soil quality, water, and distance from the railroad.

The Morrill Act of provided land grants to states to begin colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts engineering. Black colleges became eligible for these land grants in The Act succeeded in its goals to open new universities and make farming more scientific and profitable.

In the s government-sponsored surveys to chart the remaining unexplored regions of the West, and to plan possible routes for a transcontinental railroad.

Regionalism animated debates in Congress regarding the choice of a northern, central, or southern route. Engineering requirements for the rail route were an adequate supply of water and wood, and as nearly-level route as possible, given the weak locomotives of the era.

In the s, proposals to build a transcontinental failed because of Congressional disputes over slavery. With the secession of the Confederate states in , the modernizers in the Republican party took over Congress and wanted a line to link to California.

Private companies were to build and operate the line. Construction would be done by unskilled laborers who would live in temporary camps along the way.

Immigrants from China and Ireland did most of the construction work. Theodore Judah , the chief engineer of the Central Pacific surveyed the route from San Francisco east.

Judah's tireless lobbying efforts in Washington were largely responsible for the passage of the Pacific Railroad Act , which authorized construction of both the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific which built west from Omaha.

The line was completed in May Coast-to-coast passenger travel in 8 days now replaced wagon trains or sea voyages that took 6 to 10 months and cost much more.

The road was built with mortgages from New York, Boston, and London, backed by land grants. There were no federal cash subsidies, But there was a loan to the Central Pacific that was eventually repaid at six percent interest.

The federal government offered land-grants in a checkerboard pattern. The railroad sold every-other square, with the government opening its half to homesteaders.

Local and state governments also aided the financing. Most of the manual laborers on the Central Pacific were new arrivals from China. He concludes that senior officials quickly realized the high degree of cleanliness and reliability of the Chinese.

Ong explores whether or not the Chinese Railroad Workers were exploited by the railroad, with whites in better positions.

He finds the railroad set different wage rates for whites and Chinese and used the latter in the more menial and dangerous jobs, such as the handling and the pouring of nitroglycerin.

Building the railroad required six main activities: surveying the route, blasting a right of way, building tunnels and bridges, clearing and laying the roadbed, laying the ties and rails, and maintaining and supplying the crews with food and tools.

The work was highly physical, using horse-drawn plows and scrapers, and manual picks, axes, sledgehammers, and handcarts. A few steam-driven machines, such as shovels, were used.

For blasting, they used black powder. Six transcontinental railroads were built in the Gilded Age plus two in Canada ; they opened up the West to farmers and ranchers.

All but the Great Northern of James J. Hill relied on land grants. The financial stories were often complex.

For example, the Northern Pacific received its major land grant in Financier Jay Cooke — was in charge until when he went bankrupt.

Federal courts, however, kept bankrupt railroads in operation. In Henry Villard — took over and finally completed the line to Seattle.

But the line went bankrupt in the Panic of and Hill took it over. He then merged several lines with financing from J.

Morgan , but President Theodore Roosevelt broke them up in In the first year of operation, —70, , passengers made the long trip. Settlers were encouraged with promotions to come West on free scouting trips to buy railroad land on easy terms spread over several years.

The railroads had "Immigration Bureaus" which advertised package low-cost deals including passage and land on easy terms for farmers in Germany and Scandinavia.

The prairies, they were promised, did not mean backbreaking toil because "settling on the prairie which is ready for the plow is different from plunging into a region covered with timber".

All manufacturers benefited from the lower costs of transportation and the much larger radius of business.

White concludes with a mixed verdict. The transcontinental did open up the West to settlement, brought in many thousands of high-tech, highly paid workers and managers, created thousands of towns and cities, oriented the nation onto an east-west axis, and proved highly valuable for the nation as a whole.

On the other hand, too many were built, and they were built too far ahead of actual demand. The result was a bubble that left heavy losses to investors and led to poor management practices.

By contrast, as White notes, the lines in the Midwest and East supported by a very large population base, fostered farming, industry, and mining while generating steady profits and receiving few government benefits.

The new railroads provided the opportunity for migrants to go out and take a look, with special family tickets, the cost of which could be applied to land purchases offered by the railroads.

Farming the plains was indeed more difficult than back east. Water management was more critical, lightning fires were more prevalent, the weather was more extreme, rainfall was less predictable.

The fearful stayed home. The actual migrants looked beyond fears of the unknown. Their chief motivation to move west was to find a better economic life than the one they had.

Farmers sought larger, cheaper, and more fertile land; merchants and tradesmen sought new customers and new leadership opportunities.

Laborers wanted higher paying work and better conditions. As settlers move West, they have to face challenges along the way, such as the lack of wood for housing, bad weather like blizzards and droughts, and fearsome tornadoes.

One of the greatest plagues that hit the homesteaders was the Locust Plague which devastated the Great Plains. On April 22, over , settlers and cattlemen known as "boomers" [] lined up at the border, and when the army's guns and bugles giving the signal, began a mad dash to stake their claims in the Land Run of A witness wrote, "The horsemen had the best of it from the start.

It was a fine race for a few minutes, but soon the riders began to spread out like a fan, and by the time they reached the horizon they were scattered about as far as the eye could see".

In the same manner, millions of acres of additional land were opened up and settled in the following four years. Fearful of a takeover of Alaska then Russian America from the British Army based in British North America and due to lack of economic interests, Russia was eager to get rid of the territory it held onto since Secretary of State William Seward negotiated with the Russians to acquire the tremendous landmass of Alaska, an area roughly one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States.

On March 30, , the U. The transfer ceremony was completed in Sitka on October 18, , as Russian soldiers handed over the territory to the United States Army.

Critics at the time decried the purchase as "Seward's Folly", reasoning that there were no natural resources in the new territory and no one can be bothered to live in such a cold, icy climate.

Although the development and settlement of Alaska grew slowly, the discovery of goldfields during the Klondike Gold Rush in , Nome Gold Rush in , and Fairbanks Gold Rush in brought thousands of miners into the territory, thus propelling Alaska's prosperity for decades to come.

Major oil discoveries in the late 20th century made the state rich. That same day, the coup organizers created the Provisional Government of Hawaii and appointed Hawaiian jurist Sanford Ballard Dole as the islands' first President, hoping that Hawaii would be annexed by the United States.

Within 48 hours after the overthrow, the new Hawaiian government was recognized by all nations with diplomatic ties to the Kingdom of Hawaii, including the U.

Cleveland was unwilling to overthrow the government by force, and his successor, William McKinley , negotiated a treaty with the Republic of Hawaii in In April , the Spanish—American War broke out, and the strategic use of a naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Pacific during the war convinced the U.

It was signed into law by President McKinley three days later and came into effect on August 12, , officially creating the Territory of Hawaii.

Indian wars have occurred throughout the United States though the conflicts are generally separated into two categories; the Indian wars east of the Mississippi River and the Indian wars west of the Mississippi.

Bureau of the Census provided an estimate of deaths:. The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number.

They have cost the lives of about 19, white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30, Indians.

The actual number of killed and wounded Indians must be very much higher than the given Fifty percent additional would be a safe estimate Historian Russell Thornton estimates that from to , the Indian population declined from , to as few as , The depopulation was principally caused by disease as well as warfare.

Many tribes in Texas, such as the Karankawan , Akokisa , Bidui and others, were extinguished due to conflicts with settlers. Government, and the Doolittle Committee was formed to investigate the causes as well as provide recommendations for preserving the population.

The expansion of migration into the Southeastern United States in the s to the s forced the federal government to deal with the "Indian question".

The Indians were under federal control but were independent of state governments. State legislatures and state judges had no authority on their lands, and the states demanded control.

Politically the new Democratic Party of President Andrew Jackson demanded the removal of the Indians out of the southeastern states to new lands in the west, while the Whig Party and the Protestant churches were opposed to removal.

The Jacksonian Democracy proved irresistible, as it won the presidential elections of , , and By the "Indian Removal policy" began, to implement the act of Congress signed by Andrew Jackson in Many historians have sharply attacked Jackson.

To motivate Natives reluctant to move, the federal government also promised rifles, blankets, tobacco, and cash.

By the Cherokee, the last Indian nation in the South, had signed the removal treaty and relocated to Oklahoma.

All the tribes were given new land in the " Indian Territory " which later became Oklahoma. Of the approximate 70, Indians removed, about 18, died from disease, starvation, and exposure on the route.

The impact of the removals was severe. The transplanted tribes had considerable difficulty adapting to their new surroundings and sometimes clashed with the tribes native to the area.

Build your shelter, grow your home base, hunt animals, craft new guns and gear. Form a posse with your friends and create alliances with other players to conquer the land.

The expansive world of New Frontier with different biomes are open for you to explore and settle.

Mine resources, hunt, trade with NPCs and other players. Discover new blueprints to craft and upgrade your gear and weapons, but first begin by settling your Homestead and then work to expand it into impenetrable fortress, filled with trophies of your conquests and adventures.

Magic storms rain down on the land of New Frontier. Mystical creatures from another dimension are entering our land to hunt and destroy.

Protect the land, protect your home, and protect your friends. Form up a Posse with your friends and create Alliances with other players.

Fight side by side in a public events, for glory and exceptional loot. Opportunities exist in Seasonal Challenges to unlock unique gear and cosmetic items.

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