The undiscovered frontier of the west was a large ‘selling point’ of America to the rest of the world. America was regarded as a place to start a new life, to pursue dreams and live as people want to. The rest of the world and Americans alike idolized the ‘untouched’ west. It was something to fall back on when things got hard — many Americans moved out there when they lost their job or got a sense of cabin fever with civilization.
However, this idolized version of the west was far from the truth. Many people moving to their ‘untouched’ west failed to regard the Native people living there. By falling back onto new lands when life got tough, people were successfully pushing Native people out of the land they had lived in far before it was owned by America. Many people fail to regard the extremes people went to to gain this new land — and how quickly they got it. People massacred and drove out Native people so they could build a farm. They burned food supplies and slaughtered horse herds. So, not only was this land not untouched, but it was already owned. The need for a ‘fresh start’ caused many migrating people to disregard the Native’s land and people to instead steal it for their own extreme sense of retail therapy.
The extreme influx of people who ignored and forced out the Natives only grew when stories of the amazing ‘Wild West’ continued to spread. Exaggerated stories and propaganda of the new life and opportunities that lied out west caused more and more people to migrate. While it was true that new land did create a fresh start and many jobs for people who needed them, it wasn’t to the extent that many people were saying it would. People continued to migrate, and eventually, the ‘untouched’ west was just like the old America. The west turned into the very place people wanted to run from.
It was populated and bustling — civilization. America’s selling point became just another part of the country. People’s selfishness destroyed Native land for an idea of a better life, and it ended up the exact same as the life they wanted to run from. The ‘safety valve’ of the west diminished. The fabled ‘Wild West’ was forgotten for the America we know today, and the stories in history continue to focus more on westward expansion than the Native people that were slaughtered and driven out of their homes.
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