Challenges in the American west

Challenges in the American west

The civil war history and the emerging west were twisted together. Though the war was fought mostly in the East, the events which ignited it were born with the expansion of the 1840s (Amsden, 2001). The war in turn shaped the development of the west. However, there were many challenges experienced in the development of the American west.

Many westerners supported the expansion of slavery into the west and other supported the succession by the southerners. With the Transcontinental Railroad and the Homestead Act, a vast majority of people migrated to the west and displaced the Native Americans living there. These native tribes lost their traditional cultures and way of life. They were also relegated to reserves. The Americans Indians in particular tried to fight off the settlers but were defeated and confined in the least desirable areas of the west.

When the Congress passed the Homestead Act, people did not have to pay for land especially in the west. However, most of the land was grassland. There was not enough rain to grow trees. The farmers tried to grow crops especially wheat but it did not grow well due to lack of enough rains (Amsden, 2001). When a group of Germans came from Russia with a new variety of wheat, it grew very well but brought with it Thistle seeds which spread all over America.

There was also the slavery problem. Kansas-Nebraska Ac allowed the settlers in the two areas to choose whether they would permit slavery. A problem arose because the voting was done by those who were in the areas at the time. Potential voters flooded the areas to vote and a conflict arose between the supporters and opponents of the slavery.



Amsden, A. H. (2001). The rise of the rest: challenges to the west from late-industrializing economies. Oxford University Press.

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