Monday, October 28, 2019

John Sutter and the Western United States Essay Example for Free

John Sutter and the Western United States Essay During the mid-1800s, people were eager to explore most of the United States in search for a better place to live in. Those who came from Europe settled in most parts of the Eastern United States. But there are those who ventured further, going deeper into the West. One of them is John Sutter, born in Germany and of Swiss descent. He became a captain of the Swiss Army, and was driven away from his family because of debts, going to the United States to look for a greener pasture. According to Albert Hurtado in his book, John Sutter: a Life on the North American Frontier, John Sutter deserves to have a title of an entrepreneur. All his achievements were the product of his hard work and entrepreneurship (Hurtado). He roamed the United States by using these characteristics to earn enough money to fund his ventures. The Eastern part of the United States at that time were already populated, where trade and commerce is flourishing all over the place. He joined a trading venture to New Mexico, where he was successful enough, returning with wine, several mules and money. When he celebrated the Independence Day of 1839 in Monterey California, he met Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado. This meeting paved the way for a settlement grant of more than 48,000 acres of land for Sutter, the start of the monumental â€Å"New Helvetia Settlement† which pioneered American life in the Western United States. One of the few requirements for John Sutter to be awarded the land grant was to become a citizen of Mexico. This would give him thousands of acres of land where he can establish a pioneering settlement. In less than a year after becoming a Mexican citizen, he was awarded the vast lands in the central valley of California. In order to properly run this vast acreage of agricultural lands, he employed various Native Americans, as well as welcomed immigrants from different places. John Sutter’s Fort became a famous stop-over for those wishing to venture into new lands. With this account from Albert Hurtado’s book, we can see that the Western part of the United States at John Sutter’s time promises new beginnings to those who wish for a different life. The East was somehow been congested with various people migrating from other nearby countries. Because of this, some wanted, and even dared to explore other parts of the â€Å"foreign land† they have settled in. But not all parts of the west are conducive for living. In the account of John Bidwell, he describes most of the west especially California as â€Å"the country was brown and parched; throughout the State wheat, beans, everything had failed†¦cattle were almost starving for grass, and the people, except perhaps a few of the best families, were without bread, and were eating chiefly meat, and that often of a very poor quality† (Bidwell). This means that the west may promise a good life, but there are also risks in living there. It is still an uncharted territory for the migrants, and that they were all going to start from scratch. They have no clear idea on how to handle things at first, especially because they did not originate in the area. However, it is also filled with resources just waiting to be exploited. According to Bidwell, the place also has some good points, â€Å"there were no other settlements in the valley; it was, apparently, still just as new as when Columbus discovered America, and roaming over it were countless thousands of wild horses, of elk, and of antelope† (Bidwell). The Western part of the United States was truly a place of uncertainty, wherein you’ll have to risk everything if you choose to settle in the area. John Sutter was able to survive and was successful in establishing a settlement in the area. In a sense, we could say that Sutter was successful in taming the Wild West. Sutter’s Fort housed a number of people ranging from natives to settlers, even those who were lost in their way, and these people contributed well enough in cultivating the vast lands of the settlement. In a few years time, John Sutter became a major supplier of horses, cattle, and wheat (Doti). The Western United States became a melting pot of different cultures. These cultures blended well with each other despite of their differences. This is essential for the success of the settlement, where everyone has to do their part in order for their efforts to flourish. John Sutter bridged the gap between the settlers, the natives and even the bordering Mexicans. Sutter’s works not only gave rise to a new settlement, but also to a new world found in the West. This is a very important contribution in the history of the nation, as it expanded the country’s influence across the borders. The culture in the Eastern United States at that time was generally influenced by the countries which they came from. Most these are European countries that are why they have developed mixtures of various European cultures. On the other hand, the Western United States is not only a mixture of European cultures, but also accompanied by various customs of the Native Americans and the bordering Mexican culture. This diversity has proven great importance in the formation of the Western United States, because western settlements were the products of various cultures cooperating with each other in so that they would achieve peace and order in their respective communities. Works Cited: Bidwell, John. Life in California before the Gold Discovery. 1890. The Century Magazine. November 19 2007. http://www. sfmuseum. org/hist2/bidwell1. html. Doti, Lynne Pierson. John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier Book Reviews. 2006. Chapman University. November 19 2007. http://eh. net/bookreviews/library/1116. Hurtado, Albert L. John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier. 1st edition ed: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006.

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