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The Overland Trail

The Overland Trail research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

The Overland Trail was one of the most heavily traveled routes by pioneers heading West between 1862 and 1868.  It stretched from Julesburg, Colorado to Ft.Bridger, Wyoming.  The great Overland migration is among the best known periods in the story of the American frontier, due to detailed letters and diaries kept by some of the over 500,000 pioneers who traveled it. From these records, many of them kept by women, we learn about daily life on the trail, and the frontier experience in general. The Overland TrailThe diaries of men and women carry certain predictable characteristics, with men writing of “fight, conflict, competition and hunting” and women writing of their concerns with “family and relational values”. But perhaps the greatest differences in these diaries lie in the abstract details, which offer proof that women saw the journey differently than men both internally and externally.  Traveling side by side, sitting in the very same wagons, women did not always see the venture in the clear light of the expectation of success, as men did. Women often wrote from the shadowy perspective dark reservation and opposition. In that sense, the diaries of women differ from accounts of the men in both simple and in subtle ways.

Women played a very important role in the daily operations of the journey and were definitely essential to the process. When reading some of the diaries written by the women who traveled the trail, one begins to get a better understanding of the fierce determination that they shared with the men.  The main difference is that the women had little choice.  Most of them would have preferred to stay home where they and their children could be safe, rather than venture out into the unknown west and face the many dangers that would await them there. Still, these women were determined to be equal to the task and share in the many chores and challenges that each new day along the trail would bring.  Women handled the bulk of the “domestic” chores, such as preparing the meals, washing the clothes, and watching over the children, but that was only part of their considerable responsibility.  Many women were also expected to drive the teams of oxen that were their transportation, and collect “buffalo chips” as fuel for fires when there was no wood, as well as water for many purposes.  Collecting water could often be a difficult and dangerous chore in itself, as one could never be sure if Indians or other threats were lurking in bushes or forests near the streams, and women would need to be handy with a gun or rifle to protect themselves from such threats.

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