Westward Vision : the Story of the Oregon Trail. by David Lavender

By David Lavender

"In one very actual sense," David Lavender writes, "the tale of the Oregon path starts off with Columbus." This establishing indicates the panoramic sweep of his historical past of that recognized path. In chiseled, colourful prose, Lavender illustrates the "westward imaginative and prescient" that impelled the early explorers of the yank inside searching for a northwest passage and ship fur trappers into the quarter charted by means of Lewis and Clark. For the  Read more...

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Example text

The method obviously would take time, but at least it was no drain on the king.  The workable road to the West, the Oregon Trail, was laid out step by step by self­ supporting fur traders.  In the end one is tempted to conclude that the westward surge was a human instinct, like the need to love or to taste spring air and believe again that life is not a dead end after all.  And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progresses from east to west.  It was, as Thoreau recognized, a culmination of Occidental man's age­old instinct to follow the setting sun to the blessed isles, to the gardens of the Hesperides.

An adroit and handsome fortune hunter from Peru, Diego Peñalosa had worked his way up the slippery ladder of favoritism to the governorship of New Mexico.  The idea he propounded there was for him to recruit freebooters among the discontented inhabitants of the West Indies, establish them at an ostensible trading colony near the mouth of the Rio Grande, and when one of the periodic wars between Spain and France broke out, sally forth and seize New Mexico for the French.  Most of his pioneers were lost.

Using information and guides thus obtained, traders and Jesuits could push self­sustaining posts deeper and deeper into the unknown. The method obviously would take time, but at least it was no drain on the king.  The workable road to the West, the Oregon Trail, was laid out step by step by self­ supporting fur traders.  In the end one is tempted to conclude that the westward surge was a human instinct, like the need to love or to taste spring air and believe again that life is not a dead end after all.

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