Explorations And Trapping : Mountain Men Of The 1840's

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Explorations and Trapping: Mountain Men of The 1840 's The mountain men were known for their explorations and fur trapping in the Rocky Mountains and the great plains from about 1810 to 1880. Outside of their explorations and trapping, the Mountain Men also created Emigrant Trails which allowed Americans of the East to settle in the West. To some they [mountain men] symbolized the rugged freedom of the frontier, to others, anarchy and degradation. The debate surrounding mountain men was, at its core, really a debate about the nature of the West: was the frontier the site of healthy independence or dangerous dissolution? Through the rising and crashing of the trappers ' rendezvous in the 1840 's and the scarce enemies that the mountain…show more content…
James "Jim" Beckwourth, a well known trapper that will be further discussed later in the paper describes these events to include, "mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, running, trading, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men and Indians could invent."(Barkin) That is, until it all came crashing down for these men. In the mid 1830 's, Rendezvous attracted between 400-500 men, but along came the Canadian-based Hudson 's Bay Company in 1840 which caused the number of attendees to go down to nearly 50. The Hudson 's Bay Company (HBC) instituted a policy to destroy all American fur trade(Barkin). Though the rendezvous were joyful events, the HBC saw it as a threat and began offering cheaper prices for fur so that the American 's could not compete. Combined with the decline in demand for and supply of beaver, the HBC successfully destroyed the American System by the end of 1840. By 1841, the American Fur Company and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company were in ruins. Later in 1846, only about 50 workers were left in Snake River County compared to the 500-600 in 1826(Clyman). After the tragedy that struck the fur traders in 1840, a lot of them were left to work as guides or hunters for the incoming emigrants in order to make money. Essentially, the mountain men during this time were causing nothing but "lively, joyous events" while welcoming everyone; and, meanwhile, the HBC are the ones causing
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