Western Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican-American War

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Why did settlers move to the Great Plains?

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Land prices in the East were getting too expensive, and the West (Great Plains) offered an opportunity for more people to own land. Although the area suffered from extreme weather and poor soils, many people decided to take the risk and venture to the Great Plains. The government was also committed to supporting those who decided to make the move.

Settlers from Europe seeking freedom also saw an opportunity in the move to the Great Plains. The move to the Great Plains presented an opportunity for European immigrants to escape poverty in their home countries.

African American settlers also moved to the Great Plains to start their lives as free men. The cheap land accorded them an opportunity to own a factor of production that would go a long way in improving their economic status.

American businessmen followed suit, attempting to tap into the emerging market. Their target was the farmers and everyone else moving to the Great Plains.

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Settlers moved to the Great Plains for several reasons. One reason was the government was offering 160 acres of land for free if the settler agreed to live on the land for five years. This was part of the Homestead Act of 1862. People had a significant interesting in owning land. This would give people a chance to farm this land. Additionally, the government launched a campaign to attract settlers to this area. This campaign made it sound as if the Great Plains was a good place to live.

Some people went to the Great Plains when they heard there were minerals in the region. Gold was one mineral found in the Great Plains region. People hoped to make a lot of money by mining gold.

There were new inventions that made it easier to farm. The seed drill allowed seeds to be planted deeper in the earth. The steel-tipped plow made it easier to turn over the soil. These inventions would help farmers on the Great Plains.

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