Infinite Dream, The
The Infinite Dream: The Opening of the Great American West, told with all the historical detail which made Allan W. Eckert famous, explores America’s westward expansion beyond the Mississippi River, 1834 - 1848. In this period before the Civil War, restless pioneers were casting eager eyes on the lands between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. In 1821, Missouri had been admitted to the Union—the second state carved out of the Louisiana Purchase. In the 1820s and ’30s, pioneers were crossing into the Iowa Territory. To the west, lay the Great Plains. While the vast, almost treeless expanse of the great American desert held little appeal to early settlers, beyond the Rocky Mountains lay the fertile and forested wilderness of the Oregon Territory and California. To the south lay Texas, a rich land sparsely settled by Spaniards and Mexicans.
As this book opens, both California and Texas are part of Mexico. John Sutter is trying to obtain Mexican citizenship so he can become a landowner in the California province. The Mormons are facing harsh persecutions in the East. And America is suffering from the sectional tensions arising from conflicting views of states’ rights. When the Democratic candidate, James K. Polk, was elected President in 1844, it became clear that the United States would achieve its “Manifest Destiny” to spread and inhabit the western lands. Eckert’s historical narrative is written as a great human drama. Diary and journal entries of real people who lived the hardships, war, deprivation, and success of this era salt the pages of this edition, giving faces and feelings to one of our country’s grandest historical adventures—the opening of the American west.