The Romanticization Of The West

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The West has been romanticized throughout American history and culture. Brinkley states, “since the earliest moments of European settlement in America, the image of uncharted territory to the west had always comforted and inspired those who dreamed of starting life anew” (457). Despite the Americans’ idealized visions of the West, the realities Americans faced once moving there were harsh and unfriendly. The West was composed of multi-ethnic areas, unfortunately, racism was still prevalent. World Book explains that African Americans who moved West during the 1880s were called “Exodusters” after the Israelites who fled captivity in Egypt in the Bible (Clavin). Both ranchers and Exodusters dreamed of a better life out West and worked to make the best of their life once they …show more content…
Anglo-American ranchers and Exodusters were drawn to the West for different reasons, but they faced similar problems once they were settled there. Both groups were drawn by the prospect of free land, promised by the Homestead Act to American citizens of all ethnicities (“Exodusters”). The Civil War was indirectly the source of opportunity for the ranchers and the Exodusters. When cattle ranches in the mid-west were left abandoned during the Civil War, the size of the cattle population increased, making the cattle was essentially worthless in the West. But, cowboys discovered that selling the cattle in the Northeast could produce a substantially larger sum of money. This led many Americans to move to the Midwest, more specifically Texas, to become ranchers and cowboys (Slatta). The Exodusters moved West on the prospect of settling economically independent towns where they could be free of white supremacy groups, like the K.K.K. The Exodusters were incorrectly led to believe that the government had provided the necessary materials

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