10/18/2011

America: the Land of Opportunities

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After the War of 181, the new western frontier, the industrial revolution and the transportation revolution provided new opportunities for Americans. Despite the many opportunities the Native American Indians and the African slaves had very little offered to them.


The new western frontier had numerous opportunities for Americans. The frontier initially was attractive to the farmers of the East Coast. The land’s soil was richer whereas the east farmland was sandy; therefore the opportunities of producing a high yielding crop was higher. Land was less expensive and easier to obtain. “Government land after 180 could be bought for $1.5 for about half a hectare and after the 186 Homestead Act, could be claimed by merely occupying and improving it” (Westward Expansion and Regional Difference ). The farmers had to be hunters as well. The hunters, primarily men, left their home for days at a time to hunt. The men as hunters often left the women at home. Loneliness was common among the women in the new frontier. The westward expansion was about change and “because most Indians preferred to maintain their tribal ways, Jackson pursued a policy of “removing” them from the path of white settlement (Garraty and Carnes 1).


The removal of the Native Americans, during the westward expansion, was met with resistance and resignation. “A few tribes, such as Black Hawk’s Sac and Fox in Illinois and Osceola’s Seminoles in Florida, resisted being “removed” and were subdued by troops” ( Garraty and Carnes ). Other tribes such as the Cherokee’s desired retaining their land and tried to assimilate to the settlers ways but “many tribes resigned themselves to removal” (Garraty and Carnes 1). The end result of the westward expansion was a literally a trail of deaths. Thousands of tribes traveled during the winter months and died from starvation or from the cold. The irony of the travels is that the original roads created by the Native Americans had become the pathways for the pioneers of the west.


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The transportation revolution provided opportunities for the Americans. The need for roads and canals increased the nation’s economy and created jobs for Americans. The advantages of having an improved transportation system were the ability to trade longer distances and trade was less time consuming. States were now able to trade among each other at a faster pace. For example, prior to the Erie Canal, travel time by stage- coach was over two weeks and with the use of the canal the same journey was attained in six days. The nation received increased revenues with the toll charges placed on the road and canal usage. The Erie Canal “brought in over a half million dollars in tolls in its first year” (Garraty and Carnes14).


The jobs in America created an influx of European immigrants. Many Europeans felt the push- pull factor because of the many opportunities available in America. The land was easily acquired, affordable and the soil richer. Land and jobs in Europe was not as readily available hence the push to leave their homeland. The Erie Canal diggers primarily consisted of Irish immigrants partly because they were willing to work for less that the Native American settlers.


The industrial revolution provided opportunities for Americans. The industrial revolution like the transportation revolution improved the nation’s economy and created jobs. The invention of the steamboat resulted in larger transportation of products and the invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry. The steamboat allowed products to be sent up stream in greater quantities. American products were now being utilized with the new inventions therefore improving the economy. “Cotton was the major force in the American economy for a generation beginning about 1815” (Garraty 08). Mass production of products was made possible with the invention of the cotton gin. Non-skilled laborers were needed to run the machines consequently drawing immigrants to the factories for work.


The non-skilled workers usually consisted of families and were housed by the employer. Workdays were long and hard. Women and children made up half of the workers yet wages were lower than the men. Wages were low and the working condition unsafe often leading to loss of limbs and lives. Unfortunately because the workers were unskilled and had no union their opinions of the unsafe working conditions were left unheard.


The invention of the cotton gin revived slavery. Prior to the invention slavery was dwindling. There were thoughts among the opponents of slavery of grouping freed slaves in another area. The nation was divided with whites that were disgusted with slavery and whites that found it necessary to have slaves. The establishing of the Republic of Liberia, African land purchased by the American colonization Society, failed with only 6,000 black Americans. “As cotton production expanded, the need for labor in the South grew apace” (Garraty and Carnes 0). The price of slaves rose creating shortages in parts of the South. No longer were there ideas of freeing the black slaves in the South. The freed slaves in the North if hired could find work as non- skilled or skilled laborers.


There was resentment, felt by the white’s, toward the immigrants and freed black slaves. The Native American settlers felt the immigrants and the freed blacks were stealing their jobs. Immigrants worked for less and were non-discriminatory with jobs. Despite the increase of jobs freed blacks rarely received jobs because they were black and the white workers did not want to work side by side with blacks.


The new frontier, the transportation revolution and the industrial revolution are all effects of human growth. It is impossible to stop the development of population and the side effects of growth. During this great time of discoveries it is unfortunate that not everyone living in America benefited from it. The Native American Indians once again were pushed out of their homes to accommodate the settlers. Slavery was revived because of the revolution continuing the horrible acts of cruelty. Nevertheless, the revolutions were the beginning of America’s greatness.











Works cited


Garraty, John A. and Carnes, Mark C. A Short History of the American Nation.


8th ed. Longman, 001


“An outline of American History Westward Expansion and Regional Differences”


Online. Google. 1, Apr. 00.


Keyword new frontier


“Digging of the Erie Canal.”


Online. Google 1 Apr. 00


Keyword Erie Canal





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