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American Westward Migration

The steel plow, invented by John Deere in the 1830s, made it easier to cultivate the rich prairie soil. Crucial to a pioneer family's survival, the plow also came to symbolize national prosperity and the "civilizing" of the West. From early on, many Americans associated the family farm and frontier life with ideals of democracy and independence. These ideals, along with dreams of a prosperous new life and the availability of western lands, enticed settlers across the continent throughout the 1800s. As they pushed westward, pioneers fought to claim land from Mexicans, Indians, other settlers, and from the wilderness itself.

 

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John Deere plow with steel share (cutting blade) and wooden beam
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John Deere plow with steel share (cutting blade) and wooden beam


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