West The West Chapter Summary

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Reading this book was an enriching experience. I had initially thought that the West was generally better than the East because westerners would have learned from prior experiences, such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the slavery. Prior to reading this book, I was infused with the idea that westward expansion was one of the greatest occurrences in America’s history. After finishing this book, however, I realized that although the West significantly contributed to America’s history, one cannot deny its unjust actions. In other words, I discovered that those who contributed to western history merely repeated the majority of events that occurred previously in different situations. Limerick discusses the victims of oppression, specifically …show more content…
She heavily emphasizes, “Western mines had created a social condition that would have been abhorrent to the framers of the Republic. Westward expansion was supposed to create a land of independent, agrarian landowners and to prevent the rise of a wage- dependent laboring population. In mining, the opposite happened” (124). The result of this dangerous occupation led increased difficulties in settlers’ lives, which increased the interest in striking it rich and potentially never having to work again. In addition, railroads also presented a hazard to many people, specifically the Chinese. Limerick writes, “Railroads eliminated the test of endurance, the thirst, and the physical exertion of the overland trail, and automobiles eliminated the railroads’ restrictions on individual choice and freedom of movement” (165). Although she addresses the positives outcomes of the railroad, Limerick previously mentioned how the Chinese worked on these railroads under harsh conditions. The Chinese risked death and extreme injuries in their work that of which fueled them to become one of the many foundations of western expansion due to their hard

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