The United States, as a young nation, had the desire to expand westward and become a true continental United States that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Various factors, strategic and economic, contributed to the desire to expand westward. According to John O’Sullivan, as cited by Hestedt in Manifest Destiny 2004; "the U.S. had manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence to the free development of our yearly multiplying millions" (¶2). As Americans ventured westward to settle the frontier, their inherent superior beliefs, culture and the principles of democracy accompanied them. America’s ruthless ambition to fulfill its manifest destiny had a profound impact on the nation’s economy, social systems and foreign and domestic policies; westward expansion was a tumultuous period in American History that included periods of conflict with the Native Americans and Hispanics and increased in sectionalism that created the backdrop for the Civil War.
Westward Expansion and U.S. Economic Growth
After the Revolutionary War, the developing U.S. economy was significantly affected by westward expansion. When settlers migrated west, new land was obtained and made available for farming. Additional land provided increase in production of good that could be sold in the economy. Advanced forms of transportation and improved communications helped spur economic growth and the advance westward.
The development of canal, steam boats and railroads provided a transportation network that linked different regions of the nation together. When farmers began migrating westward and acquiring land for crops, cheaper forms of transportation provided the means to transfer their goods to other regions for s...
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Davidson, J. (Ed.). (2002). Nation of nations: A concise narrative of the American republic (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hawley, C. (2003). U.S. foreign policy. Encyclopedia of American history: Expansion and reform, 1813-1855, 4, Retrieved August 14, 2008, from Facts on File: American History Online database.
Hestedt, G. (2004). Manifest destiny. Encyclopedia of American foreign policy. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from Facts on File: American History Online database.
Hestedt, G. (2004). U.S. indian policy. Encyclopedia of American foreign policy. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from Facts on File: American History Online database.
Rohrbough, M. J. (2003). Migration during the antebellum period. Encyclopedia of American history: Expansion and reform, 1813-1855, 4. Retrieved August 14, 2008, from Facts on File: American History Online database.
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The growth of agriculture and railroads in Texas and in the United States helped form our economy today. Railroads today pass through a lot of Texas, and even in big cities like Houston or Dallas. Since there are so many farms and open farmland (especially in south and west Texas), railroads can carry the produce and livestock to their destination. James Watt invented the first steam engine in about 1769, and from then on, railroads were a must for transportation, since cars had yet to be invented. Railroads began to be built before the Civil War. It originally took about 6 months to get from the west of the US to the east, but now it only took 7 days. With railroads expanding all across the country, agriculture was affected in a mostly positive way. Now, crops and other goods could be transported by train anywhere in the US, and fast.
United States expansionism in the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century is both a continuation and a departure of past United States expansionism. Expansionism in the United States has occurred for many reasons. Power (from land), religion, economics, and the ideas of imperialism and manifest destiny are just a few reasons why the U.S. decided to expand time and again throughout the course of its 231 year history. Expansionism has evolved throughout the years as the inhabitants of the country have progressed both socially (the Second Great Awakening, the women's suffrage movement, the populist party and the early 19th and 20th century social reformers) and economically (factories, better farms, more jobs, etc.) Expansion changed from non-interference policies to the democratic control of the government as the United States grew in both size and population. Through the use of the documents and events during two major-expansion time periods (1776-1880) and 1880-1914), I will display both the continuation and departure trends of United States expansionism.
In the late nineteenth century the expansion to the west increased the American culture. Since population was growing they needed to satisfy demands equally for every person. The idea of Manifest Destiny was used as a justification for the expansion and westward movement. Natives Americans were against the thought Americans had about the West. As a result Americans put a number of policies that helped remove the Natives Americans of the West. Americans were trying to destroy the culture Natives had.
In the book, America’s Great War: World War I and the American Experience, Robert H. Zieger discusses the events between 1914 through 1920 forever defined the United States in the Twentieth Century. When conflict broke out in Europe in 1914, the President, Woodrow Wilson, along with the American people wished to remain neutral. In the beginning of the Twentieth Century United States politics was still based on the “isolationism” ideals of the previous century. The United States did not wish to be involved in European politics or world matters. The U.S. goal was to expand trade and commerce throughout the world and protect the borders of North America.
Canals, steamboats, and railroads allowed for faster travel of exports and the creation of bigger cities. The invention of the Pony Express, specialized regions, and infrastructure permitted Americans to keep in touch over long distances and the creation of market towns, which inspired a deep, national connection from all corners of the country. The giant leap made by the Transportation Revolution changed America greatly in ways of their economy and
Transportation was a large factor in the market revolution. During the years of 1815 and 1840, there were many forms of improved transportation. Roads, steamboats, canals, and railroads lowered the cost and shortened the time of travel. By making these improvements, products could be shipped into other areas for profit (Roark, 260). Steamboats set off a huge industry and by 1830, more than 700 steamboats were in operating up and down the Ohio and Mississippi River (Roark, 261). Steamboats also had some flaws, due to the fact of deforesting the paths along the rivers. Wood was needed to refuel the power to the boat. The carbon emissions from the steamboats polluted the air (Roark, 261). The building of roads was a major connecting point for states. There were some arguments of who would pay for...
In the 1830’s America was highly influenced by the Manifest Destiny Ideal. Manifest Destiny was the motivating force behind the rapid expansion of America into the West. This ideal was highly sponsored by posters, newspapers, and various other methods of communication. Propaganda was and is still an incredibly common way to spread an idea to the masses. Though Manifest Destiny was not an official government policy, it led to the passing of the Homestead Act. The Homestead Act gave applicants freehold titles of undeveloped land outside of the original thirteen colonies. It encouraged Westward colonization and territorial acquisition. The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. To America, Manifest Destiny was the idea that America was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic, to the Pacific Ocean. Throughout this time Native Americans were seen as obstacles because they occupied land that the United States needed to conquer to continue with their Manifest Destiny Ideal. Many wars were fought between the A...
Transportation improved from the market revolution through many new inventions, railroads, steamboats, and canals. Pressure for improvements in transportation came at least as much from cities eager to buy as from farmers seeking to sell. The first railroad built was in 1792, it started a spread throughout the states. Cumberland which began to be built in 1811 and finished in 1852, known to be called the national road stretched over five hundred miles from Cumberland to Illinois. By 1821, there were four thousand miles of turnpike in the United States. Turnpikes were not economical to ship bulky goods by land across long distance across America, so another invention came about. Robert Fulton created steam boats in 1807; he named his first one ‘Clermont.’ These steam boats allowed quick travel upriver against the currents, they were also faster and cheaper. The steamboats became a huge innovation with the time travel of five miles per hour. It also stimulated agricultural economy of west by providing better access to markets at lower cost. While steamboats were conquering the western rivers, canals were being constructed in the northeastern states. The firs...
One of the largest and most wealthy countries in the world, the United States of America, has gone through many changes in its long history. From winning its independence from Great Britain to present day, America has changed dramatically and continues to change. A term first coined in the 1840s, "Manifest Destiny" helped push America into the next century and make the country part of what it is today. The ideas behind Manifest Destiny played an important role in the development of the United States by allowing the territorial expansion of the 1800s. Without the expansion of the era, America would not have most of the western part of the country it does now.
Manifest Destiny is a phrase used to express the belief that the United States had a mission to expand its borders, thereby spreading its form of democracy and freedom. Originally a political catchphrase of the nineteenth-century, Manifest Destiny eventually became a standard historical term, often used as a synonym for the territorial expansion of the United States across North America towards the Pacific Ocean. The United States government believed that the Native Americans were a problem that was hindering Manifest Destiny from being fulfilled (or at the very least, used the idea of Manifest Destiny to gain land and resources the Indians possessed), and would do everything in their power to exterminate the “Indian Problem.” The U.S. government, along with the majority of the U.S. population, eradicated this problem through lies, forced removal, and murder. This eradication nearly wiped out a race of people, whose only crime was mere existence in a land they had lived on, respected, and cherished for hundreds of years. The U.S. government had three main ways of solving the “Indian Problem”. They would remove them, kill them, or segregate them from the “civilized” white man by placing the Indian on reservations. The Indians soon learned that the U.S. government could not be trusted, and fought fiercely against the harsh injustices that were being administered. Tragically, the Indians would eventually have their spirits broken, living out their meager existence in the terrible homes called reservations.
Manifest Destiny! This simple phrase enraptured the United States during the late 1800’s, and came to symbolize an era of westward expansion through numerous powerful entities. The expansion can be inspected though many different contextual lenses, but if examined among the larger histories of the United States, this movement can be classified as one of the most influential developments of the post-Civil War period. While very influential to the larger part of American history, the seemingly barbaric methods that were used conquer the western lands and their peoples took physical and economical forms that proved to be a plague upon the West.