Why did Americans ‘Go West’?Key Question considered: What were the factors which led people to move to the new territories/states? Content considers: The types of people who moved West and their motivations – push factors e.g. overcrowding, lack of opportunity, lack of freedom, persecution; pull factors e.g. land, economic opportunity (fur trade, cattle, mining and farming), resources (e.g. gold), freedom, desire to create ‘ideal’ societies (Mormons), curiosity (exploration). The importance of ideology – Manifest Destiny (NB – not everyone subscribed) Enabling factors – developments in transport and communications; promotion of settlement esp. Homestead, Morrill Acts (revisiting/connecting content from previous podcast). Analysis: push or pull factors more important?
Professor Richard Carwardine