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1840s.Why did the vast majority head for the Southwest or the Pacific Coast rather than the less-distant lands of the Great Plains?In the 1840’s people of the east began hearing stories of the fertile land of the north-west and the exotic lands of the south-west. Tails of Oregon’s mild weather and rich soil reached the people. Furthermore, the US was trying to expand its territory southward, and overtaking Texas, which was suffering from aweak political system, was a great way to do so. Americans like Stephen Austin were given large grants of land to act as recruiters and bring other American settlers, through them, many American settlers were brought to the south-west. Struggling to create a viable nation, the new Mexican government encouraged trade with the United States and also encouraged Americans to settlein thinly populated Texas. In 1836, Texas declared itself independent of Mexico, and Santa Anna led troops northward to crush the rebellion. Texas then became an independent republic, nicknamed the "Lone Star" Republic for its single star flag, with Houston as president. But most Texans of American origin didn't really want independence. They wanted to be part of the United States.Another source of conflict to emerge by the 1840s came over the Oregon Country, a huge tract of land including today's states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and portions of Montana and Wyoming, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia. During the 1840s, however, the Oregon Trail opened, and large numbers of American settlers came westward, soon outnumbering the British in the Oregon Country. Westward migration patterns during this period generally brought Southerners to Texas and Northerners to Oregon. Some Americans from both sections of the country migrated to New Mexico and California. These settlers included family groups, mostly looking for fertile land to farm, single workers looking for new opportunities, miners seeking quick wealth, merchants looking for commercial opportunities, and religious groups, particularly the Mormons in Utah and missionaries in Oregon. Some migrants hoped to escape the increased crowding, industry and resulting unsanitary conditions and disease that were growing in the Northeast.Between 1840 and 1860, 300,000 settlers came west by wagon train, chiefly on the Oregon and Santa Fe (and later California) trails. The many reform movements of the 1830s and 1840s arose partially from a desire to improveconditions for Americans, but partially from a desire to control the behavior of certain groups.How did these seemingly contradictory goals often work together to inspire reform efforts?
Throughout the 1830s and 1840s there were a lot of reform movements, some wanted to improve conditions for Americans, while others wanted to control behaviors of certain groups. While they were complete opposites, these contradictory reform movements worked together to inspire reform movements. Even though these groups had different goals in the end what they all had in common was change. Perhaps the most prominent and controversial reform movement of the period was abolitionism, the anti-slave movement. The reform movement of the 1830s and 1840s grew and specifically abolition and temperance, gave women a chance to get involved in the public arena. Women reformers soon began to agitate not just for temperance and abolition, but also for women's rights. There were also a lot of religious movements aswell such as the Shakers and the Mormons, these reform impulses sprang from many origins, including the influenceof Transcendentalism, a continuing surge of evangelistic religion (seen by some as a continuation of the Second Great Awakening, and by others as yet a third great revival movement), and by the growing participationof women in causes for social betterment.