Westward Expansionin Nineteenth Century Essay, Research Paper



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The Westward Expansion has frequently been regarded as the cardinal subject of American history, down to the terminal of the19th century and as the chief factor in the defining of American history. As Frederick Jackson Turner says, the greatest force or influence in determining American democracy and society had been that there was so much free land in America and this deeply affected American society.


After the revolution, the winning of independency opened up the Western state and was hence followed by a steady flow of colonists to the Mississippi vale. By 1840, 10 new western provinces had been added to the Federal brotherhood. The frontier line ran through Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas on the western side of the river. All parts of the vale except Wisconsin and Minnesota were good populated. Thus a whole new subdivision had been colonized with permanent effects on the American establishments, ideals and ways of life.

The far West was the land of high mountains, comeuppances, unusual stone formations, superb colourss and huge distance. Fur trade with Europe had now become a moneymaking concern and the fur bargainers became the scouts for the colonists. Migration was now possible by the find of waies over which ox-driven carts could be driven through seeking mountains and across the western desert. Peoples wanted to travel off from the overcrowded metropoliss and this led to the migration into the uninhabited lands. Increased transit like roads, railwaies and canals and their building created a demand for inexpensive labour doing it easier for people to acquire occupations now, in contrast with the metropoliss where there was unemployment.

The innovator motion for 70 old ages after the revolution approximately represented the signifier of 3 parallel watercourses, fluxing due wests from New England, Virginia and South Carolina. The first innovator groups tended to travel straight westward. Thus the new Englanders migrated into western New York and along the shores of the great lakes, Virginians into Kentucky and so into Missouri and the South Carolinians and Georgians into the gulf districts. Throughout the colony of the Mississippi vale, most innovators did non go long distances and as a district had been occupied, households would travel into the next one.

There were roar periods of great activity, during which million estates of land were sold, alternated with depression periods during which there was small farther enlargement of the frontier and many defeated innovators even backtracked from the West to the E.

When the pact of Paris was signed in 1783, the Americans had thought that they had adequate land between the Atlantic seashore and the Mississippi river. Yet in 1803, by the Louisiana Purchase, the country of the United States doubled and non long after, it was augmented by the half-purchase-half-conquest of Florida. By the terminal of 1820, every bit many as 6 provinces were created, E of Mississippi-Indiana ( 1816 ) , Mississippi ( 1817 ) , Alabama ( 1819 ) , Maine ( 1820 ) and Missouri ( 1821 ) . By the 1830s, the frontier line had been carried to Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas-about tierce of the manner across the continent.

By the 1840s, the expansionist policy, typified by the Manifest Destiny philosophy, became really strong with many subdivisions willing to travel to war to get more land. Slavery became a bone of contention between the Northern and southern provinces with the control of the senate in inquiry. The South wanted enlargement to increase break one’s back provinces, the North to maintain the balance with free provinces and the West desiring enlargement to increase their land. The hostility between the North and the South sees the beginnings of provincialism taking to the civil war subsequently. The spirit of equality becomes a streamer with which the expansionist policy was proclaimed.

Phases Of Development

Before the 1830s, most subdivisions of the West passed through the same stages of development in a regular order. The first white work forces to normally come in a new country were the huntsmans and fur trappers, who had extraordinary accomplishments to open up a new way through wilderness, happening nutrient for themselves and covering with the Indians. These work forces explored the state and brought intelligence of its resources back to the E.

In many parts, the 2nd stage was cattle ranching while some besides passed through the excavation stage. Partss of Missouri and Wisconsin, for illustration were settled by lead mineworkers. Behind the cattle ranchers or mineworkers came the first husbandmans, who were frequently homesteaders with no legal rubric to land. They were often ungratified and were impatient of the limitations of civilized society, and were non interested in doing lasting houses. Many of them, had a wont of traveling every few old ages and would follow the frontier land as it carried further into the West.

Once a new country had been opened up and shown to be fertile, it would shortly pull work forces of sober and ambitious type, who had much more capital and more agriculture techniques and wanted places where they could settle for the remainder of their lives. They brought with them the wonts of civilisations. They developed trade, established churches, schools and newspapers and put up establishments of authorities. The Federal authorities so assumed duty for steering each country through the territorial phase until it was ready for statehood. But there were many parts of the West, where the white colonists provided for their ain authorities, by the democratic methods long before the legal constitution of territorial establishments. Thus the society became more diversified one time little towns sprang up to run into the economic, political and cultural demands of the population. In those instances that did non afterwards become urban and industrial, this represented the concluding phase.

Geographic factors besides caused some fluctuation in this usual form. Some mountain parts ne’er passed beyond the homesteader phase, while fertile states, such as the black belt of Alabama and Mississippi, were sometimes settled, at the start, by work forces of more ambitious type. Geography besides determined the order in which different parts were occupied. The early innovators largely preferred to do their places in forest state or near to it, for they needed lumber for shelter and heat and besides for fencing. The forest parts were hence settled in progress of the unfastened prairies.

By the 1830s, the frontier line had been carried into Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas. Immediately west of the Mississippi vale was the Great Plains, which after 500 stat mis sloped into the Rockies. The fields had a batch of wildlife with mobile and extremely militant Indian folk. Beyond the Great Plains, the manner due wests was through the South base on balls between two huge mountain systems.

The Spanish districts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California, including parts of Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming were passed onto the freshly established Mexican authorities in 1821. But the Spanish had merely made colonies in New Mexico and parts of Texas and California, so the remainder of the countries were mature for enlargement.

To the North of California, the country of Oregon was to be occupied jointly by the Americans and the British harmonizing to the Anglo-American convention of 1818. From 1804 boulder clay 1807 and after 1812, the Federal authorities sent a figure of researching parties to the far West. This country was labeled as the & # 8220 ; Great American desert & # 8221 ; . And so the American authorities during the 1820s and the 1830s believed that the West might suitably be left to the Indians and were willing to assure that they could maintain it in sempiternity.

A more of import function in enlargement to the West was played by the pelt trappers. They were the first white people to cover most of the western districts and happen paths suited for innovator colonists. Between 1807 and 1835, the trappers penetrated into the mountains with intensive geographic expedition and development of the mountain state and detecting paths that helped set up the fur trade every bit good as unfastened up the West for enlargement.

Overland trade with Mexico besides helped in the cognition of the far West. The trade path from Missouri to Santa Fe and subsequently upto California resulted in the Americans set uping contacts with New Mexico and California which prepared the manner for appropriation.

Texas and California

It can be assumed that the northern parts of Mexico would hold finally come under the control of the United States as the Mexicans did non colonise them, there was no effectual sovereignty and American colonists would hold resulted in American appropriation. That the appropriation occurred by force can be seen as the augmentation of an aggressive American patriotism and the Mexicans & # 8217 ; refusal to sell the land and inability to develop it.

Mexico achieved independency in 1821 with the installing of a constitutional authorities but from 1824 to 1857, the state was dominated by the ground forces and chronic military revolutions.

The earliest of the northern parts of Mexico to come under the control of Americans was Texas. In 1823, Stephen Austin secured mandate from the Mexican authorities to colonise the country. The Mexican authorities was trusting for the speedy colony and mexicanisation of the country. By 1830, around 30,000 Americans were settled in Texas with local self-determination. At the same clip, the Mexican authorities barred any more Americans from settling in Texas. The dictatorial authorities meant dialogue was impossible and in March 1836, a convention of Texans issued a formal declaration of independency, drafted a fundamental law and take Sam Houston as commander-in-chief of their ground forces. The Texans were trusting for appropriation by the Americans but the inquiry of bondage meant the Lone Star Republic remained a democracy. In 1844, a gesture to do Texas a portion of the United States failed but it became the chief platform for the following presidential elections. James Polk won on the party platform of & # 8220 ; reannexation & # 8221 ; of Texas and & # 8220 ; reoccupation & # 8221 ; of Oregon. In 1845, a joint declaration was passed by Congress and Texas eventually became a portion of the United States.

Polk now had to acquire Mexican consent to the appropriation of Mexico and repair the boundary line, which the Texans said was Rio Grande while the Mexicans insisted on Nueces. Mexico had besides defaulted on the refund of the debt of 2 million dollars. This made Polk order the American ground forces under General Zachary Taylor to busy the disputed boundary part. Mexican military personnels were besides ordered to keep the same part and when a clang between the two ground forcess occurred in 1846, Congress declared war. The Northeast, under the leading of Emerson, Thoreau and James Russell opposed war, as they feared bondage. The plantation owners of the South wanted Texas but knew that New Mexico and California were unsuited for bondage and so wanted limited enlargement while the people of the West wanted war for enlargement.

Texas was shortly conquered and with California being taken in 1847, the American appropriation of the Far West was complete. A pact was signed in 1848 whereby Mexico ceded Texas with the Rio Grande boundary, New Mexico, California and the remainder of the western districts. The United States would pay Mexico 15 million dollars and assumed its debt of 3.25 million dollars. The pact was ratified by the Senate. The colony of California was accelerated by the Californian Gold Rush, when gold was discovered in 1848. In 1849, elections were held in California and California asked Congress for admittance to the alliance. California became a province in 1850.

Beaver state

The colony of Oregon was preceded by batch of propaganda, which was chauvinistic in nature led by Kelley and subsequently Wyeth. Religious missions, from Methodist to Presbyterians and Congregationalists and Catholic, all tried to settle this country and they were the first lasting American colonies in Oregon and became the centres of agribusiness and cattle-raising.

The great migration began in 1841 and was stimulated by the depression of 1837 with people with some capital trusting to do a fresh start. By 1845, there were 6,000 Americans in Oregon, and the United States authorities tried to do the 49th analogue as the boundary without success. The fur trade had since declined in this country so the British agreed to the 49th analogue as the boundary in a pact in 1846 and therefore, American sovereignty was established over the country covered by Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Beehive state

The Mormon Church under the able leading of Brigham Young settled the country South of Oregon and by 1847 had settled the country of Utah.

Immediate Problems after the War

The new acquisitions meant that jobs like transit had to be tackled. A canal across Panama was planned but this didn & # 8217 ; t happen for many old ages. The physique

ing of a transcontinental railway with the fiscal aid of the authorities was debated upon. Besides the inquiry of bondage in the freshly acquired districts was a more distressing issue and this decided the destiny of the United States for the following few old ages.

Manifest Destiny

F. Merk in his book Manifest Destiny says & # 8220 ; a sense of mission to deliver the old universe by high illustration was generated in innovators of idealistic spirit on their reaching in the new world. & # 8221 ; It was generated by the huge potency in the virgin land of the American continents. Consecutive coevalss besides gave this sense of mission life in assorted ways from the battle of spiritual autonomy in Plymouth and Boston at the clip of the early settlements right uptil the 14 points of Wilson when the 13 settlements had matured into a major universe power.

In the mid-1840s, a new signifier of expansionism, novel in name, entreaty and theory made its visual aspect in the United States. It was Manifest Destiny. It meant enlargement, prearranged by Eden, over an country, which harmonizing to some was the part to the Pacific, to others it was the North American continent and to others it was the hemisphere. Its public entreaty was tremendous as it meant an chance to derive admittance to the American Union. John O & # 8217 ; Sullivan coined the phrase & # 8220 ; Manifest Destiny & # 8221 ; and many other politicians supported him like John Wentworth ( Ill. ) , Stephen Douglas ( Ill. ) , Daniel S. Dickenson ( NY ) and Andrew Kennedy ( Ind. ) The people of the Old South under Calhoun supported the appropriation of Texas but were against traveling farther as country beyond it was unsuitable for plantation manner of agriculture of the South and besides because balance of free province and break one’s back provinces would be disturbed.

Its dominant characteristic was federalism, which left control of local affairs-such as slavery-to the provinces and entrusted to the cardinal authorities control over merely such extra-local maps as foreign personal businesss, inter-state and foreign commercialism, mintage and revenue enhancement for Federal intents. Federalism permitted a spreading of the sphere of the brotherhood about in decidedly without danger of cardinal dictatorship. The people come ining the brotherhood were protected by & # 8216 ; States & # 8217 ; rights & # 8217 ; as it was republicanism on confederated provinces. It signified republicanism as freedom with a authorities of a egalitarian society. Religious freedom was stressed as a characteristic of this philosophy. Democracy was explained as political democracy with broad right to vote and frequent elections every bit good as economic democracy with democracy of land ownership, easiness of land acquisition and the glory of free trade along with the promise of the development of the natural resources. This economic democracy sounded really attractive as Mexico & # 8217 ; s failure to better California was attributed to an unqualified local bureaucratism, devolving into a province of lawlessness and to a faineant population. The same was true of the agribusiness and excavation potencies. If these countries were brought into the American alliance, the people would be taught both the value of their resources and trained at their development. It was believed that business was the moral force, which should and would travel district to America. It was talked of as a safety from monarchial Europe.

Manifest Destiny besides encompassed the thought that the responsibility of the United States was to renew backward peoples of the continent.

The enthusiasm and belief for the philosophy of Manifest Destiny was tremendous with every degree of clerisy, though the range and enthusiasm for its separate characteristics differed widely.

The growing of Manifest Destiny can be attributed to certain factors:

? Technological alterations in conveyance particularly the programs to construct the transcontinental railwaies in the mid-1840s.

? Edginess of inadequacy of good land.

? Economic distress- the crises in 1837, 1839, and 1841 encouraged the flight of husbandmans in hunt of better land.

? The idealism of young person, which fueled reform with vision and high enthusiasm.

? Geography of the western state.

? Dissemination of the thoughts of Manifest Destiny through the imperativeness with the promotions in communicating.

The forces that produced Manifest Destiny were domestic for the most portion with

expansionism as the dominant yarn.


Sectional Opinions:

qJohn Rhodes in his monumental work History of the United States says that John C. Calhoun and others lobbied for appropriation of Texas against the protests of northern Whig bargainers. He says that the Whigs ne’er forgave the South for the holocaust of the war. He talks of the Mexican war being a Southern confederacy. He blamed the South for the Mexican war stating that inordinate Southern democracy provoked Mexico into war ; that in order to get land in which they could set up break one’s back provinces, South caused the Mexican war of 1844. T. Parker and William Jay support him. Rhodes & # 8217 ; sentiment assumes integrity of intent and action in the South.

qBoucher thinks that the South was disunited and so couldn & # 8217 ; t carry out the treaty. He talks of different leaders, some who advocated war against Mexico, some who like Calhoun placed the incrimination for the war on James Polk. He says there was no effectual democracy, which compelled the South to contend against the anti-slavery work forces who favored war.

qJames Douglas Fuller agrees with Boucher & # 8217 ; s view that there was no Southern confederacy. He says that this is obvious when it became clear that the Mexican district was non suited for plantation agribusiness.

qWilliam Dott favors sectional readings but he holds a subdivision of West responsible for war stating that West had been interested in enlargement. Manifest Destiny was America & # 8217 ; s slogan and Westerners were its boldest advocators. The West helped Jackson and Jefferson who were in favour of expansionism to acquire elected and in 1804, West declared expansionist policy through the democratic platform and elective Western leader James Polk. He says that 70,000 people volunteered for the Mexican war of which 40,000 were from the West.

qNorman Grabler says that neither the West nor the South were responsible, instead it was the commercial involvement of the North, which was responsible for the war. Yankee merchandiser ships moved from Boston to the Pacific seashore and San Diego to Mexico. They exchanged goods for Californian hides & A ; they exploited the Pacific. Eastern mercantile involvements dreamt of holding moneymaking trade with the Orient. He says that these work forces dictated enlargement of trade, as the business of western lands was the manner to make the ocean-a barrier to be crossed. Beyond Texas, enlargement of America is different unless it is explained in footings of commercialism and seaports. Polk won on a party programme based on conquering to carry through commercial involvements.

qWern says that it was construct of Manifest Destiny and non mercantile involvement, which was responsible for enlargement. Americans were expansionist-minded and felt that full continent was for them. Manifest Destiny reflected more than mere land hungriness. American democracy symbolized freedom. Men moved further on to get freedom. Freedom allowed them to transport the establishments. Expansionists believed that by being free in nature and non weak and impotent like bossy character of Mexicans, they would inherit the Earth. God had built weak Mexico to be bettered by his chosen ones-the Anglo-saxons i.e. the Americans. The reading of Manifest Destiny was less a affair of enlargement than intent. Concept of enlargement as a fate meant it was a agency to fulfilment of certain thoughts. The saving and flawlessness of American heaven-sent mission or fate. He talks of how it had economic deductions. There was a huge land held by America yet Americans were geting more land. The chief motivation was to get land for future population before the demand arises. The guilt of population was cardinal cause towards district and enlargement. He talks of how economic and societal autonomy was sought without which political autonomy was meaningless.

Spanish School:

qCarlos Garcia felt that to understand enlargement of the United States, it is indispensable to understand the colonial background of America and Mexico. The English Masterss of the 13 settlements had no topographic point for ruddy Indians in their society. The Indians were eliminated and so the Anglo-Saxons society existed. Harmonizing to him, in the instance of North America the terminals justified the agencies. If the Americans wanted more land, they conquer it by extinguishing its barbarian neighbours. The Americans unwillingness to absorb Indians and Mexicans explains the enthusiasm for suppressing sparsely populated Mexico and their failure to travel beyond Rio Grande. Thankss to their colonial heritage, that portion of Mexico remained Mexico. It was racial domination that held them back.

qRichard Steinberg holds Polk responsible for the Mexican war. He argues that Polk & # 8217 ; s party platform was to annex Texas and if he carried out this program, it would be his duty wholly. He encouraged people of Texas to inquire to hold Rio Grande as the boundary. Mexicans had severed their dealingss with the United States. Americans aggravated Mexicans into war.

qThe Mexican bookman Sierra was cognizant of the defects of his state. He blamed the church, politicians and stupid armed forces for their treachery to the public cause. The United States was aggressive and attacked the Mexican district and Mexico was non defended decently.

Significance Of The Westward Movement

Any treatments on the significance of the Westward Expansion must take into history the positions and unfavorable judgments of Frederick Jackson Turner whose thesis was that the westbound motion had been the cardinal factor in the development of American civilisation and the main ground for the differences between America and Europe. He says, & # 8220 ; the being of an country of free land, its uninterrupted recession, and the progress of American colony due west, explain American development. & # 8221 ; Harmonizing to Turner, the main effects of the frontier were to advance the formation of a new, composite nationality and diminish the dependance on Europe, to beef up national integrity and increase the powers of the Federal authorities, and to excite individualistic and democratic attitudes and establishments.

However, many unfavorable judgments of Turner & # 8217 ; s thesis exist with bookmans like George Pierson, Hofstader and Robert Riegel disputing his statements. They say that the frontier is an inappropriate interpretive model for analyzing American history, when other subjects like category battle, economic forces of growing, degree of engineering, growing of urbanisation, the immigrant experience or the function of continuity and urbanization exist. David Potter says that Turner failed to see that engineering and industry besides produced copiousness, which shaped the American character of individuality, equalitarianism and huge chances. Scholars say that the provinces of the upper vale became democratic chiefly because they were founded by work forces who already believed in democratic ideals. So to state that the frontier brought about democracy is an hyperbole. Turner & # 8217 ; s thought of the Westward Expansion being a safety valve for urban discontent sounds defective to Charles Bearde who said that the people who moved were entirely agricultural people as the urban workers had neither the agricultural accomplishment nor the capital needed to settle on the frontier.

Despite the assorted valid unfavorable judgments of Turner, many points of his thesis are acceptable. On the whole, the West was surely more democratic than the East and had a stronger religion in human equality as it was settled by people looking for wider chances. Even the safety valve theory has an component of truth when applied to ambitious immature work forces of the professional category who had a better opportunity of doing it large much quicker in the West than in the East. Without the unfastened frontier, furthermore, there would hold been a much larger migration of immature people from the farms to the metropoliss ; therefore the frontier helped indirectly to look into the development of the working category by forestalling it from spread outing excessively quickly. The Westward Expansion besides weakened province and regional truenesss and promoted national integrity due to its built-in mobility. Most westerners thought of themselves chiefly as Americans, and wanted strong national authorities with wide powers for developing transit and advancing the general public assistance.

The most important characteristic of the Westward Expansion was that the innovators took with them the indispensable establishments of their civilisation. Thus we must look upon the Westward Expansion as one of the factors in the defining of the American civilisation but non the lone 1.


Roll No. 385

Tute. Grp.- Tuesday, 1st Pd.

the history of the united provinces of United States -H.B.Parkes


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