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The Lives Of Western Essay, Research Paper

Life on the east coast of America was very different than life on the west coast. Although it was the eastern settlers that moved west, the new conditions caused the their lives to change immensely. The east coast was more densely populated than the west. The personalities of each set of settlers was very different. The geographical variation changed the living conditions of the Americans. The wealth of the Americans also changed the living conditions.

The east coast has been populated since the early 1700’s by first British colonists, then Americans, and finally the Irish. The society established homes, schools, roads, and towns up and down the coast line. Cities were developed as more and more people came to America, and these cities soon became very populated. Because they had been living on the east coast for generations and generations, the eastern Americans were very established people. They were well educated, they were very religious, and they were also very conservative. The roles of men and women were beginning to be established at the work place and in the home. As industrialization emerged on the east coast, more people lived in the urban areas and were able to make more money. Because the climate conditions on the east coast were relatively mild (except for Florida and Maine), the eastern Americans were able to handle most weather conditions. The east coast is right on the Atlantic Ocean facing Britain, so they were able to communicate with their homeland the easiest. The east coast Americans were also very secluded due to the Appalachian Mountains bordering them on the west.

However, some Americans felt that life on the east coast wasn’t the best way to live their lives. News about the gold discovery on the west attracted many Americans. Eventually, people started to regularly migrate to the west and settle there. The people that did decide to do this were very adventurous and rugged. These risk-takers could make it to the west by only three ways: cross-country by the overland route, take a steamship from New York and travel through Central America, or the all water route around South America. All three trips were very dangerous. Many lives were lost in the expeditions west. Not only were these trips dangerous, but they were also expensive. The most expensive one was the all water route, however that was also the safest. When the explorers reached the west coast in search of gold, they discovered that they were losing more money than they gained. The merchants on the west coast ripped the settlers off with equipment to search for gold, and there was never even gold there. So now that the settlers were out west, they were poor but physically and emotionally strong. The trip west was so long and the climate was so unbalanced that the Americans became used to such rugged conditions. They were used to living in small tents and eating buffalo. They didn’t need the industrialized cities to survive in America; they now knew how to hunt and to live in the wilderness. They were also used to being on the road. The Americans would find a place to hunt for gold. They would then temporarily settle while they searched. Once they found out there was no gold, they would pack up and move on. This also made them stronger and more rugged. The lives of the westerners were also more laid back. There wasn’t as many rules as there were on the east coast because there was no one there before them to set any standards. The westerners were known to drink, gamble, and get into brawls. They were complete opposites of the east coast Americans.

The east and west coast Americans were very different in their lifestyles and their personalities. The country was so used to seeing the educated, conservative image of the east coast. Eventually, however, the people grew tired of this image. There was a need for a change in the country. The people wanted someone they could relate to, not some old stuffy candidate. Andrew Jackson was the one that changed the country when he ran for president. The people saw a man who was just like them: he drank, he gambled, he got into duels. This man was not just some stuffy candidate. He had common-man appeal. And this man was elected president twice. Another man with common-man appeal was Davy Crockett. This uneducated man was elected to Congress simply because he has a skilled hunter. The nation liked the way the westerners were and acted, because they were such a contrast to the old image of the east coast Americans.


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