31 October 2012
31 October 2012
Westward Expansion of the United States
To what extent is it accurate to claim that the ideal of manifest destiny was a motivating factor in the western expansions of the United States?
The 1840s was a time of great territorial expansion during which the United States fought to annex Texas, acquire the Oregon territory, and conquer California and New Mexico from Mexico. As the people sought reasoning behind their territorial ambitions, a belief known as Manifest Destiny sprouted from their feeling of nationality as they came to believe that America was destined to expand past the current borders. Manifest Destiny was also a term used by Democrats to promote and persuade people to support the territorial expansions that the United States was undergoing at the time. Although manifest destiny was a huge motivating factor in the western expansion of the United States, other factors such as the rising population, expansion of slavery and freedom-seeking slaves, the gold rush of California, and new opportunities sought by settlers.
The rising population helped push Americans towards expanding westward. The early 1800s was a time when the United States was experiencing a rapid growth in population. The U.S. population grew from more than five million in 1800 to more than 23 million by mid-century. During that time, there the U.S had been experiencing a periodic high birth rate. The growth on the sizes of families only added pressure to expand their land and gather more resources to survive. Immigration also added to the explosive population growth in the United States. Over 7.5 million immigrants migrated to the United States. Many immigrants fled their countries in order to escape from poverty and famine. The Gold rush also caused a great influx of immigrants as they hoped to acquire some of the wealth found in the United States....