Did you know that “the economy of the US grows 1.6 % every year?” This all came to be because of the Westward Expansion during the 1800’s. The events leading up to this was the Louisiana Purchase and Manifest Destiny. Which additionally incorporated the impacts of moving westward. I believe that the Westward Expansion was worth it for many logical reasons. The Westward Expansion is what shaped our nation to this day. To begin with, the U.
S purchased the “Louisiana Territory” from the French who obtained it from Spain. As a result, the Americans were afraid of Napoleon’s great undefeatable army; Americans were afraid that France would take over their existing homelands, the 13 colonies, and use it to gain power. Also Americans wanted to buy The “Louisiana Territory” in order to gain access to New Orleans and the Mississippi River- since they had trade routes. According to Source A: A letter written by Jefferson to State Governors commanding to act quickly in case of war with the French , it states “In 1800, Spain secretly ceded Louisiana Territory to France, and closed the port of New Orleans to American farmers. Westerners, left without a port from which to export their goods, exploded with anger.” In the timeline adapted by from the Stanford History Education Group’s lesson on the Louisiana Purchase it states, “Federalists in the United States were alarmed that France now owned Louisiana.
They wanted to use force against France.” Therefore, this fear of the French owning “Louisiana Territory” forced President Jefferson to make his decision of purchasing Louisiana Territory from the French for $15 million dollars.After the U.S purchased “Louisiana Territory”, Americans moved westward. Ninety percent of the people were Christians, so they believed in the “Manifest Destiny” – which was one of the main reasons why America decided to move West. The Manifest Destiny is, “The idea of spreading democracy and civilization across the continent,” according to Brainpop (an educational website filled with animated lessons for students in grades K-12). People who had moved West were farmers, gold rushers, and Mormons. Once people had settled West, they were told that if they moved onto a small plot of land, and farmed it themselves, then they’d be given that land for free.
This was called “homesteading”. In the meantime, Texans were angry at the dictatorship of the Mexican president. Texas was owned by Mexico and later decided to become an independent country, so Americans helped to support them in the “Treaty of Velasco.” But before the treaty was made there was a battle between the “Texians” and Mexico- called “Battle of the Alamo.” The aftermath was that the Texians had lost, which meant they didn’t get their independence but this all changed with the treaty. Then, the US acquired Texas because they saw the significance of its river, Rio Grande, which could be useful for trade routes. Shortly after this, according to Brainpop’s video titled: Mexican American War it states that “the US wanted to acquire New Mexico and California from Mexico.” The US wanted to acquire this land because they believed that they had the rights to own land from coast to coast (Manifest Destiny).
This all came to a head in the, ” Mexican American War” under the leadership of President James K Polk. During the war there were cries of, “REMEMBER THE ALAMO” which meant different things to the Mexicans and the Americans. For the Mexicans, it meant, remember how we were all powerful in defeating the US, and for the Americans it meant, hate the Mexicans for killing all the U.S.
According to brainpop’s video titled: Mexican American War, it states that, “the war all came to an end with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. As a result the region from Texas through California was given to the U.S for 15 million dollars and forgiveness of about $3 million dollar debt Mexico owed to the US in what was known as the “Mexican Cession”. In turn, US expanded all the way to the Pacific coast because of the Mexican American War.
As Euro Americans moved onto the new land through the Pacific coast, the population grew as well as the economy. Lewis and Clark were explorers commissioned by President Jefferson to explore the new purchased land. During the Lewis and Clark expedition they encountered many new species. They uncovered many new animals in this new environment and encouraged more pioneers to move west. The arrival of Euro-Americans onto native land was not always friendly. However, many Native Americans and pioneers assimilated well together. Several treaties were signed to help the Natives and Americans work together.
An example of such an effort was the “Treaty of Greenville: a treaty signed between the United States of America and several Native Americans tribes in 1795,” according to the document titled: Treaty of Greenville. These treaties encouraged farmers, pioneers, etc… to start growing their crops in harmony with the Natives.
This then lead to Euro-Americans fueling up the economy through the buffalo fur trade. If it wasn’t for Lewis and Clark’s discoveries then the west part of the US wouldn’t have been the same. As pioneers moved Westward the effects were favorable. Lewis and Clark’s discoveries were perfect for the US because with new animals Americans were able to use them for trading purposes. They also found new plants in the environment which can help the US to make new types of medicine. According to Montanakids.com (an educational website for kids to learn about Montana which is ran by the State of Montana) it states, “Throughout the Corps’ more than 4,000-mile journey, Captains Lewis and Clark recorded 178 plants and 122 animals not previously known to science. Lewis recorded and pressed and preserved some 240 different plant species and brought them back to Washington, along with hundreds of animal and bird skins and skeletons.
” It is now clear that with the knowledge of new species, scientists were then able to learn the history of these species. Today, we can also learn about how these species have evolved throughout time. If it wasn’t for Lewis and Clark then we wouldn’t have any knowledge of these species. Also along the way, they were at the Missouri River finding a water route that led to the Pacific Ocean. This was great for the US because it helps us trade with other countries and the more we trade the more our national economy increases.
During their expedition they also encountered Native Americans. These Native Americans were living in the western territory and were later kicked out by the Euro-Americans, who moved them to reservations with poor soil. Although this is unfair, it was beneficial for the US because without this new land we wouldn’t have the crops we have now, and we wouldn’t have the knowledge of how different environments/land can affect crops. We also wouldn’t be able to grow within the US; we wouldn’t have made any progress in building the nation.
In the youtube video titled, “The Lewis and Clark Expedition: A Turning Point for the American West” entered into the National History Day Competition in 2013 in Washington D.C., which placed 11th in the nation it says, ” The knowledge fueled the American fur trade.
” It is clear that the fur trade was a huge success which fueled the economy of the US. Without this money we wouldn’t be able to expand our nation and we wouldn’t be able to have the strong protective army we had back then and currently.. Even today the US uses this money for our own good- protecting us, using it for the homeless, and much more! In conclusion, I truly believe that the Westward Expansion during the 1800’s was definitely worth it.
The expansion had many positive outcomes on the US economy and Nation. The nation went from being one fourth of what is currently the US to being a whole piece of land, making us the strongest nation in the world. At that point the economy of the US went from inadequate to heaps on account of the expansion.
Overall, if it weren’t for the Louisiana Purchase, Manifest Destiny, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, then we wouldn’t have this strong nation that we currently have on this day!