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089 What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?
Pacific (Ocean)

In the 1800s, most Americans believed in Manifest Destiny, or the idea that the United States was supposed to expand (or grow) across North America to reach from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. This was an important dream for the United States, but it took many, many years to accomplish (or to make it happen).

Traveling to the west coast was very difficult and dangerous in the 1800s. People couldn’t fly in a plane or drive a car, of course. Instead, they traveled in covered wagons, which were heavy, wooden boxes covered in white fabric that rode on wheels and were pulled by oxen, which are very strong cows. The trail (or road) that they traveled on was called the Oregon Trail. The journey (or long trip) covered more than 2,000 miles and took about five or six months. The Oregon Trail was mostly used between 1841 and 1869. People stopped using it once the first transcontinental railroad (or the road for trains that went across all of North America) was built, because it was easier, safer, and faster to travel by train. But today, if you visit western states, you can still see some of the Oregon Trail’s wheel ruts, or the deep marks in the ground that were made by the heavy wagons.

Many of the people who set off (or began their journey) on the Oregon Trail never made it to Oregon. About one-tenth (or 10%) of the travelers died as they traveled toward the west. Some of the travelers who survived (or didn’t die) went to Oregon, but others stopped and settled (or began to build homes and live) in other states, like Utah. Many of the people who traveled on the Oregon Trail went to California to participate in the California Gold Rush, where they could find gold and make a lot of money by selling it.


Manifest Destiny – the idea that the United States should reach across North American from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean
* Due to the idea of Manifest Destiny, the United States became one of the biggest countries in the world.

to expand – to make something bigger or to make it cover a larger area
* He wanted to write a short book, but it has expanded to almost 1,000 pages.

to accomplish – to make something happen, especially something that is difficult
and important * What did you accomplish in your last job that you think was helpful to your company?

covered wagon – a heavy, wooden box covered with white fabric that moved on wheels and was pulled by strong cows or horses
* Riding in a covered wagon was uncomfortable, but it was better than walking across North America.

Oregon Trail – the trail or path that people followed from the eastern part of the early United States to the Oregon Territory in the west
* Many people died of disease along the Oregon Trail.

journey – a long trip; traveling a long distance
* We should write a book about our journey from Florida to Alaska.

transcontinental railroad – the road for trains that goes across all of North America
* How long does it take to ride a train all the way along the transcontinental railroad?

wheel ruts – deep marks in the ground that are made by heavy vehicles or other things that are pulled on wheels
* We can see wheel ruts where your car drove through our grass.

to set off – to begin a trip; to start on one’s travels; to begin a journey
* They set off for the beach at 7:30 this morning.

to survive – to continue to exist; to live through danger or a difficult situation
* How many people survived the plane crash?