Americans’ idea of expansion was one of the most controversial topics of the 1800’s. Naturally, there were two sides to this argument and they were both strongly defended. Those who were for expansion expressed the hopes of spreading the riches of religion to different territories in the country. Opponents desired for the country to be left alone following the theory of, “if its not broken don’t fix it”. Thus, the government had their hands full with the ongoing debate of territorial expansion.
Manifest Destiny was the vigorous force of nationalism that steered the United States onto a path of territorial expansion and war. The ramifications of the Mexican War included a new set of troubling and divisive issues. Through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the United States acquired a vast new territories. The ultimate question would be centered upon the status of slavery in these newly organized territories. Ironically, the relentless westward expansion which seemed to draw the nation together inevitably reinstated bitter controversies that haunted the stability of the Union. Despite tedious efforts, compromises regarding the polemical issue of slavery failed to implement a lasting resolution that would quell sectional tensions. “The Impending Crisis” of the mid-nineteenth century was caustically perpetuating the sectional discord of the Union. Consequently, the Kansas-Nebraska controversy along with the ambiguous notion of “popular sovereignty” generated such internal animosity that it crucially ripped America in two, eventually setting the stage for the civil war. Significantly, the deadlock over slavery drastically heightened political tumult to such an extreme degree that sectional crises and disagreeable interpretations ultimately rendered the blemished Constitution unable to preserve the disintegrating Union from secession and civil war. Nevertheless, the Constitution ultimately did succeed in justifiably saving the Perpetual Union.
The Mexican-American war over the territory of the great Southwest of the North American continent took place from 1846 to 1848. That very southwest was until that time a full part of the country of Mexico that had fallen under the scrutiny of the United States for military annexation because it was in the way of the United States who was a young, expanding country. The United States had done well for itself in acquiring a bulk of the North American continental territory up to this point in time starting with the thirteen colonies obtained during the Revolutionary War, then the 1783 settlement towards the West and New Orleans, followed by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 which spanned all the way to the Midwest, and the Florida purchase of 1819 that allowed access to the region of what is now that state. By 1845, the United States had also successfully annexed all of Texas and a large amount of land northwest of Texas, which stimulated a lot of talk about the United States’ intended expansion of landholdings to the West as far as California on the coastline. In the year 1845, A Democratic newspaper editor by the name of John O’Sullivan created the term “Manifest Destiny” by publishing an article a popular news publication called Democratic Review declaring the destiny of the United States to be the allocation of the North American continent for the generations of our families and that California would be allocated in due time.
As the country continued to expand westward, the United States developed the belief of Manifest Destiny, where expansion across the continent was justified and inevitable. Congressman Robert Toombs of Georgia had given his speech on the House floor in December 13, 1849, addressing that the westward expansion should allow slavery on the new territories that were claimed through war and purchased land. In his speech, Toombs had also acknowledged that the North was trying to prevent the spread of slavery and that he would work hard to preserve slavery, even if there will be disunion (Doc B). A year had later passed, where the Compromise of 1850 had been created, reasserting the Missouri Compromise line and that California had been admitted as a free state. In the map of Document C, it shows unorganized territory that would later become states when the population was enough; however, the unorganized territory was above the Missouri Compromise line in 1850, possibly allowing slavery to expand towards the north (Doc...
The spread of American institutions was a major cause of western expansion in the United States. According to editor of the New York Sun (Document H), American expansion will lead to the spread of the American ideals of democracy, liberty, and republicanism to the West and the “Mexican race”. The spread of democracy and American ideals was commonly used as a Casus Belli, that is a cause of or “excuse” for war, for past and future wars. This is clearly reminiscent of the War Hawks call to invade Canada. This also served as the first case of it being used for American imperialism which the Mexican-American War is the first act of. This was later to be succeeded by the imperialism of the American seizure of Hawaii and the Spanish-American War. According to President James Polk in his inaugural address (Document F), the American nation and government should expand west to reunite with American settlers through communication, trade, and manufacturing. Charles Summer (Document G) and Reverend William Ellery Channing (Document B) both believed that expansion into Texas merely an excuse by southerners to spread the institution of slavery. This works in conjunction with southern Senator George McDuffie’s (D...
In 1811, the future U.S. President John Quincy Adams advocated the concept that the United States should include all of North America. Americans in the 1840s embraced the notion and named it “Manifest Destiny.” It was used to justify annexing Texas from Mexico in 1845, thus starting the Mexican-American War. The United States prevailed and, by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo , Mexico ceded a vast amount of land. Ownership of the future states of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado were conveyed to the U.S.
During the years surrounding James K. Polk's presidency, the United States of America grew economically, socially, and most noticeably geographically. In this time period, the western boundaries of the Untied States would be expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Many Americans in the 19th century believed that the acquisition of this territory to the west was their right and embraced the concept of "Manifest Destiny". This concept was the belief that America should stretch from sea to shining sea and it was all but inevitable. Under the cover of "Manifest Destiny", President Polk imposed his views of an aggressive imperialistic nation. Imperialism is the practice of extending the power and dominion of a nation by direct territorial acquisitions over others, and clearly America took much of this land by force rather than peaceful negotiations with other nations. Polk acquired three huge areas of land to include: the Republic of Texas, the Oregon Territory, and the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico under the Mexican Cession.
The prospect of slavery’s extension into the American West most certainly shaped sectional politics by inflaming grievances and tensions, and sparking heated and occasionally violent protests, yet compromise sometimes was reached – occasionally among strange political bedfellows – in the interest of holding off the specter of civil war. This paper will focus on the issues surrounding the possible extension of slavery into the following areas: the Missouri Territory and the Louisiana Purchase in general, Texas (annexation), the Oregon Territory, California (annexation), Nebraska (unorganized), and the Kansas Territory.
There were lots of possible causes for the civil war, the westward expansions being one of them. 1 Some of the problems with the westward expansion were that the settlers found life hard. The Government promised all those who could pay a $10 registration fee, 160 acres of land would be theirs in the West. The aim of the Homestead Act in 1862 was to encourage people to take up farming and help sustain the settler communities. The problem was that many settlers didn’t know how to farm and they found that the conditions and climate was too harsh to work in. It was also hard to farm with the lack of vegetation and the hot weather. There were also problems with where the boundaries should be drawn for the expansion. They also didn’t know how large the population of a territory should be before Statehood could be granted. These were the questions that the Government had to ask themselves about the expansion. Therefore thi...
Since its institution, the heart of the United States has smoldered with the burning desire to push past its own boundaries and establish itself as a world power, acquiring most its territory during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. However, the means by which the United States acquired new territories changed drastically in nature from its original non-aggressive attitude to a largely assertive and belligerent temperament in the second half of its expansive conquest. In order to fully illustrate the changes in the motives and character of United States expansionism, the proliferation of boundary extension must be broken into two separate time periods – the acquisition of land in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, motivated solely by the need to build and establish a country, and the imperialistic expansion of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which was fueled by a desire to implement the United States as a world power. As the United States evolved economically, religiously, and politically, its methods of expansionism evolved from being mostly unintrusive to democratically controlling, all the while struggling to keep a common goal and stay true to the ideals of its ancestors.