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In the time period of 1840-1895, commonly known as the American west, pioneers set off to the west of America to set up homes there

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The Problems of Living in a Newly set up Town in the West In the time period of 1840-1895, commonly known as the American west, pioneers set off to the west of America to set up homes there, with the promise of free land, and the image of 'streets paved with gold' in their minds; Americans were more than willing to pack up and find their fortune. However, moving west was not as easy as most had anticipated, and many families perished on the journey over alone, not to mention the living conditions when they arrived. As more and more families began migrating west, the discoveries of gold brought along many big businesses, and a mass increase in people hoping to make money. This meant that towns needed to be set up to accommodate all of these people. As well as ordinary living towns, ranchers and miners needed to set up cow towns and mining towns for there workers. New laws were continuously being passed to encourage this, as U.S government wanted to make the west a part of the U.S.A as quickly as possible. Homesteaders had a right to claim land if they moved to the west, and land to build a town could be bought cheaply, resulting in towns being set up literally overnight. ...read more.


would have to cope with, even though it was the U.S government who wanted them to come in the first place, to contribute to jobs such as building the railroads, for a lesser fee. This also enticed racism, as Americans feared that the foreigners were going to take all of their jobs. Racism was also a big problem in that some of the vigilantes would have racist opinions, and so many Chinese and black miners would be unfairly hanged, solely because of their ethnicity. Another problem in gold mining towns was that the men outnumbered the women on a large scale. In fact, there were about 4 times as many men as there were women in most towns. This was because it was mainly the men who would come to work in the mines, being physically stronger. This would encourage intense rivalry between men over the women, often ending in shootouts, and the demise of many. The Mormons, or the 'Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints' was a religion in the American west which was set up by Joseph Smith in 1830. Smith claimed that he was confused by all of the different religions, but one night in 1823 an angel came to him, called Moroni. The angel told him that it would help him find some golden plates with scripture on them written by Mormon. ...read more.


Abilene had already become known as a very rough town in the Old West, and these vast numbers of cowboys made the problems of violence, drunkenness and gambling far more prolific. The amounts of cowboys coming into Abilene, just like in the gold-mining towns ensured that the amount of men far outnumbered the women. This led to violent conflicts between men over the women, often resulting in deadly shootouts. The newly set up towns in the west had many problems which they would need to overcome if they hoped to become functional towns of the likes of the towns in the east, all of which made it extremely hard to live in the newly set up towns that the West had to offer. From the mass amounts of people travelling to them, to the sheer unruliness of the people in the towns, the government would have to quell the problems for good if they truly wanted to become a great nation. This was something that homesteaders and immigrants had to take into account before making the decision move to America, as the images sent back to the east through propaganda and the government were usually of a far more positive nature than the hard labour that was there to greet the immigrants after their travels. Possibly, if the travellers had been informed of this, then a lot of the problems of living in a newly set up town in the west could have been avoided. Richard Baillie 10WH ...read more.

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