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Myths and heroes: the american conquest of the West

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Notion anglais : Mythes et Héros

We have chose like topic, "The americain conquest of the west" for illustrate the notion of myth and hero. A myth is a story which can be true or not. But there are many differences between the myth and the reality. We can try to show in this presentation these differences.

At first we shall see the various myths of this period then in a second part, we shall speak about the reality and about what really passed.

 I)  Myth

a) Manifest destiny:

It is a term used in 1840 for justified the extension of USA towards the Oregon Texas and California.The idea of Manifest Destiny told Americans that they had a mission. This mission was to make the United States bigger so the "borders" could be open to even more people.

Of course, there were many other reasons, besides Manifest Destiny, that people wanted the United States to grow. People wanted land of their own, instead of having to work for other people. If a person had their own land, they were working for themselves, and they were free. In this document , one say that the pioneers had for mission to bring the democracy and the civilization at least wealthy that is the Indian people.

b) American progress :

This picture, was painted by John Gast in 1872. Entitled "American Progress" it is a representation of the " Manifest destiny ". In this scene, an angelic woman (sometimes identified as Columbia, the personification of the United States in the XIXth century), carries the light of the "civilization" on the West with the American colonists. The Amerindians and the wild animals avoid towards the western darkness savage. She symbolizes the American conquest has fault the education and the technology

 II) Reality

 a) Donner party tragedy

In spite of the myths, the west conquest not it passed not always well. Indeed, during this long journey, several pioneers died. Indeed, the food became scarce, some are died of has the malnutrition. Others have of to feed corpses to survive and not die too. It is a part of the myth which remained to hide to keep in memory a good vision of this event.

b) Trails of tears

The United States was very determined to take control of all of North America. Unfortunately, the parts of North America they wanted were not empty. They were places that native american had always lived 

The United States gouvernment wanted these tribes to move outside the United States, to what is now Oklaoma. The government was able to convince some of these Native American tribes to sign treaties saying they would leave their lands.When some tribes refused to leave their lands, the United States government committed an ethnic cleasing against them. When thCherokee Nation refused to leave their homes USA president Martin van Buren, ordered the military to make them leave. About 15,000 Cherokee were forced to walk to Oklahoma and Arkansas . Most historians tthink that about 4,000 of them died on the way. 

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