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Westward Expansion

Updated December 1, 2019

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Westward Expansion essay

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Westward Expansion the right of our manifest destiny to over spread to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given to us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federative development of the self government entrusted to us. It is right such as that of the tree to the space of air and the earth suitable for the full expansion of its principle and destiny of growth .John.L OSullivan Manifest Destiny can be described as a phenomen that created Americas history, a movement that would embody American beliefs and American culture, it implied imperialistic expansion that the Americans believed was there right, this right led to hardships, several wars and hostilities between countries and also between people occupying the American land. Though this destiny also led to new lives, comradery and development it achieved the ultimate goal of possession. Manifest Destiny was the philosophy that created a nation. In the year of 1800 the West to coin an old phrase was an unknown frontier to the Americans who had settled upon the East Coast.

The West was a mystery blocked by a French colony by the name of Louisiana. America was under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson who in the true spirit of Americans was interested in the west and the possibilities it offered. With this in mind he organised an expedition into the French owned territory, before this expedition could begin in 1803 French leader Napoleon Bonaparte offered to sell Louisiana to America for a price of fifteen million dollars and with this historic purchase the West was opened up to expansion and pioneers. America now possessed the heart of their continent.

Jeffersons planed expedition continued and under the leadership of Lewis and Clarke the exploration of the newly acquired West began, the expedition covered 4,000 miles and all lands beyond Louisiana to the Pacific were claimed for America. This expedition shattered dreams of Jefferson and exposed how hard the Rockies were to penetrate despite this, the extensive richness in the area and in the fur trade enticed trade, and the Rockies became the centre of American fur trade. The west was now largely American and the lure would call to many in the following years. The call of Westward migration was largely related to the economic situation of the East and in times of hardships or depression the West seemed to be a form of escape the first example of this occurred in 1806 when business restrictions in the East caused economic problems, this wave of migration consequently resulted in the additional States of Louisiana(1812), Indiana(1816), Mississippi(1817), Illinois(1818) and Alabama(1819) to the union of the United States. (To become a State of the Union a population of 60,000 must be reached).

In 1807 the Embargo Act was passed which prohibited United States vessels from trading with European nations during the Napoleonic Wars, this embargo seriously threatened American livelihoods and stimulated a continuation of economic disruption. The war of 1812 is worth mentioning as it created a feeling of national pride and stopped the domination of America by European events, the decade in which followed has often been referred to as the Era of Good Feeling but in fact it could be classified as the prelude to the strife and devastation and animosity that was destined to continue for four decades. Westward Expansion accelerated when Spain ceded Florida to America in 1819, in exchange for the payment of $5 million dollars and the settlement of all American claims made towards the Spanish government. In 1921 the Mexicans drove the Spaniards from the continent and declared Texas to be a Mexican State. The Mexicans encouraged American Westward movement and American pioneers and settlers were driven to this territory by trade and also by the promise of cheap fertile land.

The Americans soon outnumbered the Mexicans and some were calling for annexation by the USA. This perhaps is the starting point of hostilities between the Mexicans and the Americans, which would later develop into the Mexican American War. The Texas situation however would evolve into a revolution led, without the help of the American army. The Mexicans were defeated and Texas declared independent in 1836 due to the question of slavery Texas was not annexed until 1844. The question of slavery comes up in context to westward expansion as it causes disruption within the union and hatred between states and political parties. The first question of slavery was aroused I relation to Missouri who applied for statehood in 1818, Missouri was the first state to be created from land entirely west of the Mississippi from territory added to the union.

There was a fear that the admission of Missouri, in which slavery was legal to the union would enable and encourage slavery in future states in the end a compromised settlement was achieved in which slavery was legal within Missouri, but prohibited in all other states created out of the Louisiana purchase above a latitude 36?30. With this descion the issue of slavery would be brought into prevalence and would eventuate into an issue that would divide the union into sides that would clash in conflict. The struggle over new Western territories would continue and affect migration routes and numbers in accordance to their position upon slavery. The American Indigenous People or the Indian have relevance to the issue of Westward Expansion, they provided an element of fear and hostility within the settlers they were an unknown factor. The American government under went a policy of removal. Indians were removed from land that was ready to be settled in order to make the land more attractive to settlers, the Indians were moved to land designated especially for them, until the white man wanted expansion and the Indians would be moved again.

This policy of removal to unfit land came into precedence in1812 after the Battle Of Tippecanoe where the Indians attempted resistance. The systematic removal of the Indians made the west more attractive to many Americans the removal of Indians also gained the white man additional territory to settle in the West. In 1823 President James Monroe, announced the Monroe Doctrine, the effects this policy would have upon United States Westward expansion would come into play in the 1840s where it would be used as a justification of expansion and as a threat towards Britain regarding California and Oregon. With increasing hostilities with the Mexicans the United States had to settle the issue of Oregon with Britain to avoid conflict on both sides and also to ensure the continuation of pioneers spreading across the west.

In 1945 Oregon was not on American soil and with the increasing numbers of settlers establishing themselves upon Oregon soil a settlement was required to repress any problems that may occur. The United States made an offer to Britain which was rejected, with this rejection America became more aggressive in their demands this tension was alleviated by a British Company fearing attack moving to a fort beyond the Americans reach, with this movement the two countries agreed upon the original offer made by the United States therfore in 1846 all Oregon territory under the latitude 49?North became legally part of the United States. Settlers flocked to this newly acquired area and as trails and transportation methods improved it allowed families and larg …

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Westward Expansion. (2019, Dec 01). Retrieved from