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The Oregon Trail in American History

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Imagine yourself an emigrant headed for Oregon in the early 1800s; Could the promises of rich farmlands plentiful of resources maybe this is the reason why the trail lured over 400,000 people , more than 2,000 miles of track left as an reminder of the sacrifices, battles, and triumphs of early American settlers. But what about those who have been lost in the wilderness along the journey. What about those who were living on the frontier? 

The Oregon trail is a age old reminder that we cannot let our past dictate and control our future. The trail is a reminder that we must continue to fight for our freedom and rights; as the immigrants fought for theirs, However that being said does not mean there was not many casualties along the Way; Diseases such as Cholera, Dysentery, And Typhoid fever; all very unpleasant to say the least and violent crimes were rampant among the trail go’ers. A frequent misconception is that the Oregon Trail was a single track or one straight line that never changed, while In reality the trail was more like a braided rope with fraying along the way; which changed ever so slighty with each passing year mostly caused by the constant changing extreme weather conditions. While in certain locations the trail did converge into a single passage way, in some places wagons trains would spread out, making the trail up to 0.5 mile wide or more in some cases. In some places there might have been many parallel routes, sometimes just few miles away from each other. Those who progressed through the Oregon trail were often accompanied by their families and friends all of them seeking the same thing, a better life, of the estimated 424,000 people who traversed the Oregon path, just around 80,000 turned out at Willamette Valley in Oregon. Some pointed off on tracks that got off the Oregon Trail and led to Utah and California. The California track was known to have taken around or over 245,000 travelers at it, most of them prospectors and Miners during the Gold Rush era of the 1830s-40s. The Oregon Trail stopped in numerous locations around the Pacific Northwest and both Oregon and Califorina had huge amounts of foot traffic by the 1840s. 

In the end The Oregon Trail was a major aspect in our history’s development. When Marcus and Narcissa Whitman made their trip on the Oregon Trail, many new Americans saw a small window of big opportunity. The Oregon Trail was the only practical and plausible way to pass through the Rockie Mountains. Pioneers crammed themselves into small wagons to try to make it to the unsettled land first; however sadly over 15% of the pioneers died on the way due to disease accidents and violent crimes.

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