Westward Expansion 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…
At the start of the book, Limerick states, “The involvement of the federal government in the economy and the resulting dependence, resentment, and deficit have become major issues in American history and contemporary politics, and the American West was an arena in which an expanded role for the federal government first took hold” (27). In this way, she expresses how the federal government often faced opposition, as everything they had seemed to do was wrong and affected some type of group negatively. Limerick notes, “America’s hope thus lay in westward expansion--in the extended opportunities for the growing population to acquire property and for the nation to remain at the happy and virtuous stage of agriculture” (58). In this, she signifies how westward expansion was glorified by the government’s use of Manifest Destiny, which resulted in a large influx of people moving west. Moreover, she writes, “With the public domain to administer, the federal government found itself in an anomalous position. It possessed a national resource but not a rationale for the management and use of that resource” (70). This represents how the federal government often had troubles with associating itself to property by interfering with internal and private affairs of its citizens. This would result in disputes between the state government and the national government on who …show more content…
As a result of the numerous white Americans attempting to relinquish the savagery from the Native Americans, John Collier attempted to aid the indigenous peoples to gain freedom from the white Americans’ pressure on their culture. Unfortunately, Limerick informs, “Some Indians had converted to Christianity, and resented Collier’s efforts to return them to a traditional past” (203). By detaching themselves from their culture, many Native Americans were able to live without the oppression of white Americans against their children. Also, Mormons also faced religious prejudice wherever they went, including the west. Limerick justifies, “This aspect of Mormon origins left the church particularly unprepared for the civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. Southern segregation might have had support of some churches, but it was primarily a civil and secular order. But here was segregation built right into the theological framework of a religion” (325). This explains how the Mormons were fueled by their oppression to move west, strengthening the belief that the west was a land of true liberty. The Mormons, however, failed to realize that they would have to face dangerous conditions caused by nature before they would establish their own center for their

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