Westward Expansion

We have been told that the reason for the debate over the territorial expansion was because people didn’t want to expand to the west. This is not true do to the fact that in the 1800’s America was full of people who believed in manifest destiny. Most Americans believed that we should extend our nation’s borders from Sea to shining Sea and maybe even farther. We can see in our accurate history documents that the real reason for the debate of the expansion was because of slavery. This is what made America become a divided nation.

The South was agricultural and lived more off of the land than the north did. The South did want to go west but, they just also wanted to ensure that they would have slaves to work the land. The North felt like the west should be free. Also a large number of southerners were Federalist (document B). In the Congressional Debate of 1803 we see that the Federalist including Plumer was against the westward movement when he said “Admit this western world into the union, and you destroy with a single operation the whole weight and importance of the eastern states. ”(Document A).

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John Calhoun spoke to the Congress of Mexico to try and get them to give Texas to them so that they would not have to go to war (Document H). We see that Mr. Calhoun was not successful. Because a year later in 1849 Mr. Thoreau talks about the Mexican War (Document I) “people have chosen to execute their free will. ’ He refused to pay taxes from the Mexican War and was jail as a result. All of these people and the south were unsuccessful in stopping the Westward Expansion. One of the reasons why the people were also worried about the expanding to the west was the Indians.

So in 1829 Lewis Cass spoke to a board in New York City and let them know that there was no need for the fear because the Indians who for over two centuries have been in contact with “civilized people” (Document C). We can see in the map (Document D) that the Indians move westward and in to Reservation. This movement was called the “Trail of Tears”. In 1833 there was an Eagle Map made to help support the movement to the west. Showing that our Nations Bird was fitting in the map and our country would be successful with the movement (Document E).

The Industrial Revolution brought forth the need for roads, canals, and railroads. This was one of the reasons why the North was for the Westward Movement. In 1844 Thomas Benton told the United States Senate that if we build a road to Oregon it would help our Economy and we would be successful (Document F). He was a success and the road was built. Also in 1844 in a letter to Moses Dawson, Andrew Jackson says “If there be patriotism in the effort to increase the wealth and happiness of all classes in our society—to diffuse the blessings of equal laws, and a just government . . . f there be love in the spirit which finds in this free land of ours the means to spread the light of the Gospel, and to teach fallen man throughout the world how he may recover his right to civil and religious liberty—it seems to me that all this patriotism—all this philanthropy—all this religion—appeals to us in favor of the addition of Texas to our Union. (Document G). This was a success because this helps to spark a large amount of patriotism in America. There was even talk of expanding our borders to Cuba (Document J). This was not a success because soon after this the Civil War broke out and all talks were push to the side.

In 1845 John O’Sullivan said “And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us. ’ This became true thru the success of the Westward movement. Even with all the controversy the west was won. As a result of the westward movement only a short time later in 1861 America had a civil war because the North and the South disagreed about slavery.

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