Essay on The Movement Westward in the States

Essay on The Movement Westward in the States

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1803 to 1862 was a significant period of time for the United States of America. The movement westward in the States primarily happened within these years and consisted of five major events – each enabling the next. These events were the Louisiana Purchase, the expedition of Lewis and Clark (Corps of Discovery), establishment of the Oregon and California Trails, the California Gold Rush, and the Homestead Act of 1862.
The scene was set for the westward expansion of the United States on May 2nd, 1803 (Whitridge, par. 1) when Thomas Jefferson purchased the territory of Louisiana from the French government for 15 million dollars; dubbed duly, the Louisiana Purchase. “The Louisiana Purchase provided a realistic way for Americans to expand westward and live the agricultural dream that Jefferson desired.” (Demaio, pg. 2). This transaction doubled the size of the United States and piqued the interest of the settlers wanting to see what lay beyond the Appalachian Mountains. The lands acquired spread from the Mississippi River west to the Rocky Mountains, north to Canada, and south to the present-day border between Oklahoma and Texas.
Another key factor in the movement westward was Jefferson’s action in the Corps of Discovery (a unit of the Military) commonly known as the expedition of Lewis and Clark. The voyage of the Corps of Discovery played an essential part in Jefferson’s vision of keeping the United States agrarian by providing acres of land. (Demaio, pg. 1) Agrarian refers to keeping the society dependent on agriculture production, and the acres of land would provide Americans with the means to do just that. Lewis and Clark set out on May 14, 1804 across the newly purchased Louisiana territory, heading west towards the Pacific O...


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...e Oregon Trail." History Today 11.11 (1961): 743-752. Historical Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Spedden, Rush. "The Donner Trail ACROSS The Salt Lake Valley." Overland Journal 26.1 (2008): 25-35. America: History and Life with Full Text. Web. 3 Apr. 2014.

Stewart, George. "California Gold Rush -- And the Following Quarter Century: CALIFORNIA GOLD: The Beginning of Mining in the Far West. By Rodman W. Paul." New York Times [New York, NY] 1947, n. pag. Web. 3 Apr. 2014. .

Thompson, R.. N.p.. Web. 1 Apr 2014. .

Whitridge, Arnold. "The Louisiana Purchase, 1803: America Moves West." History Today 3.7 (1953): 476-483. America: History and Life with Full Text. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.


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