What are three of the problems homesteaders faced while settling the American West?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Homesteaders faced the problem of constructing shelter very quickly. To do so, they often constructed simple cabins. Some also made use of what was in their environment and built sod houses. These houses had the advantage of being inexpensive to build, as the homesteaders only needed to buy materials for constructing the windows, a door, and sometimes a roof, and sod was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Second, homesteaders had to find a reliable source of water, which could be difficult. Early homesteaders often claimed land near rivers and streams, forcing later homesteaders to dig for water. They would often have to dig many wells before finding a reliable source of water, and then, even after finding water, they would have to haul it up bucket by bucket. Finally, homesteaders faced dirt and disease, as they used outdoor toilets. Houses constructed of sod were not always watertight, and the dirt floor could never be disinfected. These conditions bred diseases such as diphtheria and cholera. Homesteaders were also affected by diseases such as measles and typhoid. 

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The homesteaders faced a myriad of problems when trying to settle the American West.  First, they faced the thread of ambush by various American Indian tribes, obviously.  The Indians did not appreciate the settlers invading their land, and who wouldn't?  I would certainly defend my land if strangers came on it.  Secondly, they faced an uncertain future. When settlers went out West, they did not have any guarantees concerning their futures.  They didn't know what they would find and if they would get there alive or once there, if they'd survive or be able to support themselves.  Finally, they faced the threat of possible starvation.  Once there, settlers had to find a way to grow food or obtain it, so there was always the threat of families starving to death (not to mention finding a water source!).

revolution | Student

They faced many problems when trying to settle in the American West. First, they have to fight against the threat of cowboys, who claimed that these lands belong to them, thus leading to conflict and tension. Also, they are worried by ambushes by American Indian tribes, who are trying to remove the whites who are invading their homeland, by rading wagon trains or homesteads. Finally, there would be a possible occurence of droughts that would stirke their crops, so lowering production value, thus leading to starvation as less food is produced.