The United States in the nineteenth century evolved from settling on the Atlantic coast in the seventeenth century all the way to the Pacific Coast. Some civilians from the late 1830s and 1840s believed slavery to be the primary cause of western expansion. While this may be true, it was not the primary reason. There were many reasons for the expansion that were equally as important and impactful as slavery. The annexation of new states would allow the United States to grow economically and industrially. With John O’ Sullivan’s and the government’s view of “Manifest Destiny”, it was an American’s obligation to expand because of their national pride and superiority over Mexicans, African Americans, and Native Americans.
The opponents of the addition of Texas and the Mexican War attacked slavery as being the primary and root cause of the expansion. It was not a primary reason, but was definitely a participating factor. Starting around 1829, Southern and Western states were urged and understood to be for the purpose of slave labor. The Reverend William Ellery Channing in 1837 said a letter to Henry Clay that the annexation of Texas would revive slavery in the South and add it to new parts of the country of the country where African American slavery never existed (Doc B). Texas was annexed on December 1845, followed by the Oregon Territory on June 1846. By expanding the nation further west to Texas and beyond to the coast of the Pacific Ocean, the cultivation of using slaves for free labor would cause slavery to be stronger and more protected in the United States. The land and fertile soil of Texas would allow new cotton industry, using slaves as laborers. The population of African-American slaves would escalate with the annexation of Texas. George McDuffie of South Carolina, in the position of a white, “superior” senator, thought the annexation of Texas for the benefit of slaves. Slaves would live in better conditions that they had previously been under and...
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