Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny
Things of the time period
Mansion of Happiness
A big hit in good God fearing Protestant middle class households. The game promoted the idea that virtue and good
deeds assured happiness and success in life. Players raced around a game board by spinning a teetotum (a spinning top –
since dice were wicked) on a quest to reach the last game square first, the Mansion of Happiness. The end square
depicted happy men and women making music and dancing before a house and garden, which is a veiled reference to
Heaven. To get to Heaven, players needed to land on the good virtues – things like temperance and chastity. If a player
landed on audacity or immodesty, that would set them back – and others would get into Heaven first.
Emigrants had a choice of trails to take to their new homes in the West. By 1850
most of the United States east of the the Missouri River had already met the
Census Bureau's definition of settled land - 2 or more persons per square mile. For
those people interested in farming and settling in expanses of land the eastern
United States was overcrowded. The Great Plains, also known as the "Great
American Desert" to some people, presented an opportunity to re-establish in new
and boundless territory.
The chief route west was the Oregon Trail, which began in Independence Missouri,
and terminated in the Northwest. An offshoot, the California Trail, climbed the
Sierra and ended in Sacramento. Another route, used by the Mormons, led to the
Salt Lake Valley. The main artery to the Southwest was the Santa Fe Trail, which
linked up with two routes to southern California, The Gila River Trail and the Old
Spanish Trail.
Traffic on the trails grew by leaps and bounds. Estimated numbers of pioneers
using the various routes are as follows:
1841 69
1842 200
1843 1,000
1844 5,000
1848 30,000
1849 35,000
At the peak of migration, in 1850, some 55,000 pioneers rolled westward by
wagon train.
Factors Contributing To Western Expansion
Financial Woes
In 1837 the nation suffered its first major financial collapse, the result of
irresponsible money and banking policies and speculation in public lands during
the Andrew Jackson administration. During May of the year 1837, the major New
York Banks closed and in the ensuing panic banks all over the country also
closed. The depression that followed caused agricultural prices to plummet, farm
surpluses clogged the produce markets and farmers could not meet the mortgage
payments on their land. These farmers headed for free land on the west coast.
Epidemics of sickness also drove people to the West. In the East, more people
died of such diseases as typhoid, dysentery, tuberculosis, scarlet fever and malaria
than from any other cause. Yellow fever so decimated the population of New
Orleans and settlements along the Mississippi River to the north that the regional
death rate exceeded its birth rate for nearly a century. and in the 1830s an
epidemic of cholera, which had started in Asia, rampaged through Europe, and
came across the Atlantic on passenger ships, struck the East Coast and spread
inland. The disease raged for almost two decades, killing some 30,000 in 1850
The Civil War
The American Civil War would send another wave of pioneers to the West. In the
aftermath of the war, thousands looked for an escape from their devastated
homes. To all these people the West was a means to achieve health, wealth and