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The eastern half of the trail was also used by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Bozeman Trail (from 1863), and Mormon Trail (from 1847), who used many of the same trails before turning off to their separate destinations.Use of the trail declined as the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the trip west substantially faster, cheaper, and safer.The idea of expansion was also supported by Whigs like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to expand the nation’s economy. Calhoun was a notable Democrat who generally opposed his party on the issue, which fell out of favor by 1860.Manifest destiny was a general notion rather than a specific policy. Democrats used the term in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico. It is rooted in European nations’ early colonization of the Americas, the establishment of the United States by white Anglo-Saxons from England, and the continued wars against and forced removal of the American Indians indigenous to the lands. O’Sullivan, a New York newspaper editor, introduced the concept of “manifest destiny” in the July/August issue of the , in an article titled, “Annexation.” The term described the very popular idea of the special role of the United States in overtaking the continent—the divine right and duty of white Americans to seize and settle the continent’s western territory, thus spreading Protestant, democratic values. In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 elected into the presidency James K.
The Overland Stage Company owned by Ben Holladay famously used the Overland Trail to run mail and passengers to Salt Lake City, Utah, via stagecoaches in the early 1860s.
Starting from Atchison, Kansas, the trail descended into Colorado before looping back up to southern Wyoming and rejoining the Oregon Trail at Fort Bridger.
The stage line operated until 1869, when completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad eliminated the need for mail service via stagecoach.
Each year, as more settlers brought wagon trains along the trail, new cutoff routes were discovered that made the route shorter and safer.
Improved roads, ferries, and bridges also improved the trip.