The American Civil War

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Since this chapter is about expansion into the west, I would definitely say that the story about Henry K. Bruce’s move to the west was an appropriate introduction for this chapter. The story told about Pettis Perkinson who attempted to move his farm and slaves into the west from Virginia. Bruce was one of his slaves. The story tells about Bruce’s feelings of excitement as a boy experiencing the new environments of the west for the first time. This is similar to the fervor that many people had for heading west after seeing paintings or reading books about it.

Being that Bruce was a slave though, the story also told about the negative parts associated with being relocated by force and separated from loved ones, both of which were realities for slaves and Indians during the time of western expansion. “Many of those who headed west had no say in the matter. “Men often made the decision without consulting their wives and children, and their slaves’ wishes received even less consideration.” (Norton 338). The west held a lot of promise for a lot of people, but as Bruce found, it was not always everything it was promised to be.

2) The song on page 342 of the text book is a song that came from Philadelphia in the 1850s during the time of western expansion. The song was written as a warning to Americans who were possibly considering moving west. While some people did find what they were seeking on the frontier, others met hardships from weather and other factors. There was also Rebecca Burlend who wrote A True Picture of Emigration with her son that chronicled their trip into the American west. They wanted the book to be an accurate portrayal of moving to the frontier so people could get a realistic sense of what it was like. She did not want to stop people from moving, but wanted them to be able to know the truth. The government spread propaganda making the west look like a great place to settle. But as it said in another part of the chapter, artists who went out west often had their works changed to make the west seem more appealing. This type of pressure on western expansion required truthful songs and depictions of what could really happen out west.

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