Westward Migration In The 1800s

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Westward migration in the 1800s was a very arduous and long journey, and those that traveled in hopes to reach the west were faced with countless difficulties and hardships. Some of these pioneers made great discoveries and had enormous success in discovering relatively safe routes to the new land, but others faced great tragedies, the struggle to survive depriving a man from even the simplest sense of morality. One of these great tragedies was the one faced by the Donner Party, a group that perhaps foolishly embarked on a trail that was rumored to be a shortcut, and this grievous mistake led to the demise of several travelers. The Donner Party, a group of nine covered wagons left Springfield, Illinois on a 2,500 mile journey to California…show more content…
They came back to Donner Lake, the place the rest of the group was waiting, and it soon became evident that the party was stranded by the heavy snow. Luckily, timber was abundant, and they built three cabins to shelter themselves as they waited in hope that the snow would melt. The other group that had waited with George Donner were also trapped in the heavy snow, and built hasty shelters from tree branches and hides. Meanwhile, James Reed, the man that the Donner party had banished, along with William McCutchen, came to rescue their companions, but could not get past the snow, so they went back to Sutter’s Fort. As the conditions grew worse for the Donner Party, they built more cabins, but their animals wandered off, and they were left with hardly anything to eat, including “family pets, bones, twigs, a concoction described as "glue," strings and, eventually, human remains” (news.discovery.com). Realizing that they would all starve to death if they did not do anything, the group sent out fifteen people to travel to Sutter’s Fort and bring supplies. As a result of the malnutrition and cold, eight of this party died, and the rest of the desperate group cannibalized seven of them. As soon as the remainder of the party reached the other side of the mountains, messages were sent out, and the first rescue group went to the Donner…show more content…
The Donner Party had started off in an ambitious journey to go through a rumored shortcut, with many hopes and dreams for the West. Only as a result of ignoring warnings and a series of grievous mistakes did they ultimately end up as this tragic story of Westward emigration, but they also served as a warning to others. Through their journey through the desert and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it is evident that while they were courageous for facing those trials and choosing to continue on, they were also ignorant of what exactly they were going on, and their many quarrels and delays only furthered their losses, and though they blamed their suffering on others, it was their own impatience and ignorance that killed

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