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Free western expansion Essays and Papers
Suffern Senior High School. Uploaded By jmj This extension of the United States had a big influence on the country. Westward expansion brought railroads, new cities, gold mines, new farmland, more resources, and much more. Expansion of the country came with a lot of positives, but also some negatives.
Americans started to believe it was their destiny to expand its territory over all of North America. From May 18 to June 2, , the Cherokees were rounded up into forts as settlers began moving onto their lands. Some Cherokee were forced to live in the forts—little more than stockades—on Army rations for up to five months before starting their journey to Indian Territory.
Of the approximately 16, Cherokees, more 4, died as a result of conditions in the forts, some from the journey—on foot, by wagon and steamboat—to Oklahoma, and some from the consequences of the relocation. About 1, Cherokees stayed behind, living on private lands or eking out an existence in the wilderness. Read more about the Indian Removal Act.
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- Westward Expansion - Timeline, Events & Facts - HISTORY.
Disputes over who owned the Oregon Territory nearly led to a third war between the United States and Britain. Ultimately, the question was settled peacefully in a manner that gave the United States clear possession of its first important Pacific port, the area of Puget Sound. Britain, Spain, Russia and the U.
Chinese immigrants and Mexican Americans in the age of westward expansion
By international principle, his journey gave the United States a claim to all the area drained by the river and its tributaries. This treaty also defined the western borders of the Louisiana Purchase, which had been somewhat vague. The southern borderline would be the 42nd parallel, the top of present California, and would extend across the Rockies to the Pacific. That left the northern boundary to be defined.
The Anglo-American Convention of between the U. Under the treaty, the question of dividing that region could be revisited every 10 years. In , Russia abandoned its claims south of the 54 degrees, 40 minutes parallel In the s, Americans began their major push west of the Mississippi, into lands that were largely unsettled except by the indigenous tribes. Some went in search of land, some in search of gold and silver, and in the case of the Mormons, in search of religious freedom.
Braving harsh weather, attacks by Indians or wild animals, and isolation, their numbers rose into the tens of thousands. Increasingly, Americans talked of the prospect of a transcontinental railroad. In the presidential election of , Democrat James K. Polk narrowly won on a platform of national expansion. The youngest president up to that time, Polk tended toward confrontational diplomacy. Britain had long offered to split the Oregon Territory, along the line of the Columbia River.
The only area of contention was Puget Sound, which promised its owner a deep-water port for trade with China and Pacific Islands.
Westward Expansion Facts
Polk then demanded the whole territory, north to the line. In April , Congress authorized Polk to end the joint agreement of Americans took up the slogan " or fight," and war loomed with Britain. The British, however, saw little value in another war with its former colonies in order to protect the interest of the Hudson Bay Company along the Pacific Coast. An agreement was reached that split the Oregon Territory along the 49th parallel excepting the southern portion of Vancouver Island in exchange for free navigation along the Columbia for the Hudson Bay Company.
In , during the administration of President John Tyler, the U. Texas had won independence from Mexico in , although Mexico refused to officially acknowledge the republic or its borders. Upon learning Slidell was there to purchase more territory instead of compensate Mexico for Texas, the Mexican government refused to receive him. Slidell wrote to Polk, "We can never get along well with them, until we have given them a good drubbing.
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In January , to defend the disputed Texas border and put pressure on Mexican officials to work with Slidell—and perhaps to provoke the Mexicans into a military response—Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor with a small U. Army contingent to the north bank of the Rio Grande. Texas and the U. On April 25, , a patrol under Captain Seth Thornton encountered a force of 2, Mexican soldiers; 11 Americans were killed and the rest captured. One wounded man was released by the Mexicans and reported news of the skirmish.
Polk received word of the conflict a few days before he addressed Congress. The Thornton Affair, which "shed American blood upon American soil," provided a more solid footing for his declaration of war, though the veracity of the account is still questioned today. Some opposed the war on grounds that war should not be used to expand the U. Some thought that Polk, a Southerner, wanted to expand slavery and strengthen the influence of slave owners in the federal government. Despite the opposition by Whigs—Polk was a Democrat—the U.
American success on the battlefield was swift. By August, General Stephen W. Kearny had captured New Mexico—there had been no opposition when he arrived in Santa Fe. Securing California would take longer, although on June 14, , settlers in Alta California began the Big Bear Flag Revolt against the Mexican garrison in Sonoma, without knowing of the declaration of war. Cumulative U. He promised the U. Once in Mexico City, however, he reneged on the agreement and seized the presidency. Taylor pushed south into Monterrey, Mexico, in September.
After a hard-won victory, Taylor negotiated the surrender of the city and agreed to an eight-week armistice, during which the Mexican troops would be allowed to go free. In January , Santa Anna learned of the U. Santa Anna began the long march back to Mexico City. Read more about the Mexican American War. On January 24, , James W.
Although he and Sutter tried to keep it a secret, word got out—the first printed notice of the discovery was in the March 15, , San Francisco newspaper The Californian. Not long after, gold was discovered in the Feather and Trinity Rivers, also located northeast of Sacramento.
The first people to rush the gold fields were those already living in California, but as word slowly got out overland and via the port city of San Francisco, people from Oregon, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Pacific Islands arrived to find their fortunes.
In , there was such a huge influx of gold-seekers—approximately 90,—that they would be referred to collectively as "forty-niners. It is estimated that by some , people had streamed into California hoping to strike it rich. The port town of San Francisco went from a population of about 1, in to become the eighth largest city in the U. Read more about the California Gold Rush. The Klondike gold rush consisted of the arrival of thousands of prospectors to the Klondike region of Canada as well as Alaska in search of gold.
Over , people set out on the year long journey to the Klondike, with less than one third ever finishing the arduous journey. Only a small percentage of the prospectors found gold, and the rush was soon over. Read more about the Klondike Gold Rush.
Westward Expansion In America In The 1800s
The first concrete plan for a transcontinental railroad in the United States was presented to Congress by dry-goods merchant Asa Whitney in Whitney had ridden on newly opened railway lines in England and an — trip to China, which involved a transcontinental trip and the transport of the goods he had bought, further convinced him that the railroad was the future of transport. The act, based on a bill proposed in that had been a victim of the political skirmishes over slavery, was considered a war measure that would strengthen the union between the eastern and western states.
The Central Pacific started work in Sacramento, California, in January 8, , but progress was slow due to the resource and labor shortage caused by the Civil War. The California Gold Rush and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad brought the first great waves of emigration from Asia to America. Learn more about the Transcontinental Railroad.
Since construction began in earnest after the end of the war, most of the workers on the Union Pacific were Army veterans and Irish immigrants who had come to the U. When the railroad was completed on May 10, , with the ceremonial driving of the last spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, it had already facilitated further population of the western states in concert with the Homestead Act. The railroads led to the decline and eventual end to the use of emigrant trails, wagon trains, and stagecoach lines, and a further constriction of the native population and their territories.
Telegraph lines were also built along the railroad right of way as the track was laid, replacing the first single-line Transcontinental Telegraph with a multi-line telegraph. The Homestead Act of was intended to make lands opening up in the west available to a wide variety of settlers, not just those who could afford to buy land outright or buy land under the Preemption Act of , which established a lowered land price for squatters who had occupied the land for a minimum of 14 months.
In the s, Southerners had opposed three similar efforts to open the west out of fear that western lands would be established as free, non-slaveholding areas.