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American Expansion

By TheScarlet Dec 09, 2013 481 Words
American Expansion

American Expansion from 1800 to 1848 benefitted the nation but at great cost. Nineteenth century was a time of remarkable growth and expansion in America. It was the century when America had grown with the addition of Texas, Louisiana and the land added through the war with Mexico. It was the century marked by the migration of settlers to the West of the continent because of the gold rush and desire for novelties. The idea of Manifest Destiny spread quickly throughout the country and soon thousands were moving westward in search of a new way of life. There was a problem however, the land it was expanding on to didn’t belong to the U.S. So when Americans began inhabiting land in the west, as you can imagine, there were many unhappy people. American’s truly believed to their cores that it was a collective destiny for them to occupy all of North America. This began with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In order for the United States to expand successfully into the west they needed control of the Mississippi River, which at the time was owned by France. While this first leg of expansion was successful, others did not go so well. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which authorized the President to negotiate treaties that exchanged Indian tribal lands in the eastern states for lands west of the Mississippi River. In 1834, a special Indian territory was established in what is now the eastern part of Oklahoma. In all, Native American tribes signed 94 treaties, ceding thousands of square miles to the Federal government. At the same time the United States and Mexico were having boundary disputes over where the Texas boarder existed. President Polk reacted by sending troops into Mexico to protect the Texas boundary lines. The Mexican War which occurred in 1848, was obviously won by the United States, and helped the country receive control of the Texas, California and New Mexico territories. These newly acquired regions rapidly started to be populated by settlers from various parts of the country. In conclusion, surely the process of expansion was very beneficial for America at that time. In fact, maybe because of the rapid expansion in the nineteenth century America today is one of the greatest world powers. However, the benefits and advancement of the expansion being advantageous factors for the humanity, came at such a cost that they affected people’s lives in a very negative way. Many Native Americans were killed, and others were forced to assimilate or leave their places of residence. Principles of democracy proposed by the founding fathers were not fully introduced and many groups suffered. Finally, the politicians started to use people and not work for their wellbeing. Thus, it has to be realized that progress is a great thing to achieve, however, achieving this progress takes a lot of stepping over people’s lives.

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