EU: Westward expansion both strengthened and divided the nation. EU: A democratic society is strengthened by social awareness and reform. An Nation Expanding
With this editorial, the concept of Manifest Destiny was born. In 1845, John O’Sullivan, the editor of the Democratic Review , expressed what America had thought about land ownership: “It was America’s Manifest Destiny to expand her empire of liberty from coast to coast.” M.D.
The idea of Manifest Destiny initiated westward expansion. People began to take Horace Greeley’s recommendation. “ Go West, young man, and grow up with the country.” Horace Greeley
As the nation grew through westward expansion, divisions over slavery and sectionalism increased. Each section of the country (North and South) wanted its way of life to dominate the economic,political,and social policy of the entire United States. The United States experienced many conflicts as a result of Westward Expansion.
Westward Expansion resulted in the displacement of the Native Americans . The Indian Removal Act forced the Cherokees and the Five Civilized Tribes off their lands in the east and onto reservations in Oklahoma. Eventually, almost all Native Americans were forced onto reservations.
By creating the reservation system, the United States government had developed a plan to clear the land for westward expansion. Little concern was given to the Native Americans’ civil liberties .
Westward expansion influenced economic activities. The opportunity for owning land encouraged many to leave home and travel westward.
Gold in California spurred many to travel west.
The idea of “Heaven on Earth” created Oregon Fever! The opportunity to start a new life excited the American people.
Westward expansion created a change in population and settlement patterns. Santa Fe, New Mexico, San Francisco, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah, experienced population explosions. Boom towns sprung up overnight. This settlement of an urban area (city) is called urbanization .
Westward expansion also contributed to the spread of democratic ideas. To many Americans, it was their duty to extend the blessings of democracy to new lands and peoples.
The election of Andrew Jackson ushered in the era of the “common man.”
His election coincided with the extension of democracy to more people, a situation largely caused by the expansion of the western frontier. He was the first U.S. president to represent the common man rather than the aristocratic class (the ruling class of educated land owners with political power).
Jackson’s election was an American dream. The common man was empowered by this election. No longer did wealth and tradition hinder the common man from opening doors to the opportunities available to him in the United States.
Jacksonian Democracy inspired the common man to achieve Manifest Destiny. As the pioneers traveled across the continent, they took with them the democratic ideals of the Jacksonian period. Jacksonian Tools
The Industrial Revolution contributed to westward expansion. The invention of the steam engine provided cheaper, and faster transportation. Steam power also allowed for factories to be built anywhere, including the West.
The creation of interchangeable parts allowed for mass production, making goods cheaper and easier to manufacture.
The cotton gin made cotton “King” in the South.
Not all Americans saw the Industrial Revolution and Westward expansion as positive aspects of society. Organized efforts to reform society for the better began with much enthusiasm. The Industrial Revolution and westward expansion brought about rapid change. Women’s Rights Manifest Destiny Mexico Texas Russia United States
Reform movements for schools, prisons, and hospitals swept the country. Crusades to end slavery, the abuse of alcohol, and subjection (being under the authority) of women to men also played an important part in making society better. Prison Reform
Writers, artists, and religious leaders also joined in to bring attention to American social issues. Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau advocated that people challenge laws they considered unjust by refusing to obey them. The process of defying codes of conduct within a community or ignoring the policies and government of a state or nation when the civil laws are considered unjust is known as civil disobedience . Civil Disobedience ( noun)- Refusal to obey civil laws in an effort to induce change in governmental policy or legislation, characterized by the use of passive resistance or other nonviolent means.
In this unit we will explore the problems and issues concerning westward expansion, reform movements, and technological innovations of an expanding nation.