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Impact of Westward Expansion in the United States

1117 words (4 pages) Essay in History

18/05/20 History Reference this

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Former president Thomas Jefferson believed that for our nation to succeed, we needed to expand and that our nation future it depended on the westward expansion, he also thought that the republic depended on the virtuous citizenry for its survival. By expanding westward between 1860 and 1890 as a country, we established newfound agriculture, growing cities, and the development of a railroad system. This all came at a cost as we pushed Native, Americans out of their native lands and confined them to reservations and broken promises.

  The westward expansion toke place between the years of the 1860s and 1890s this was considered to be one of the most critical and properly historical events that toke place with in the United States, and most important historical event for many Americans but a tragedy for many Native Americans. The new American saddlers were not reasonably wanted by the Native Americans that already called the newly founded land home.

The American saddlers wanted the newfound lands for the purposes of acquiring gold and raising their livestock. The saddlers disregarded if they were not wanted their or not despite how the Native Americans felt.  Even though the newfound lands were inhabited, it was to considered a minuet setback, but this would not discourage the Americans from colonizing further west.  As the lands were inhabited, it came with a challenge as they tried to expand their properties by acquiring it from the Native Americans by any means. A few Americans saw the western lands as un-useful to the point that they would be considered inhabitable before the 1860s.  As the need to expand became more prevalent, many settlers began seeking new beginnings.

In the 1860’s agriculture, population and railroads were mainly focused in the east of the country.  By 1862 the Homestead Act provided free land a total of 160-acre lots to anyone who would file a claim, and live on that land for five years and properly establishing improvements this also included building a dwelling. It’s believed this started the movement towards the west many made their way to places like Oklahoma to claim a pace of land. 

Between the 1860 and 1890 enriched agricultural expanded and it lead to the rise of major cities in the west like Chicago, St Louis, New Orleans and also San Fransisco.  By 1860s there was a total of 30,000 miles of railroad that stretched from New York to Mississippi River but did not stretch across America at this time. With the newly found cities and the tremendous amount of increase in settlers, it resulted in the expansion of the U.S. railroad system. In 1862 Pacific Rail Road act let the United States government agree to help and fund a railroad from the state of California to Missouri. Companies were tasked with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the east and west as one company started at the west in Sacramento the other would begin in the Missouri River the two companies were to meet in the middle. 

In 1869 the Transcontinental Railroads were completed, this allowed many settlers to expand west and flourish and enabled many cities to trade with one another to accurately prosper. “Bind together in its iron clasp our fast settling pacific region that of the Mississippi Valley” (Dobson, 2013).  The American railroad’s system exported and imported domestic and foreign good this would untimely generate income for the United States government. (Dobson, 2013) The expansion of the transcontinental railroad system open doors for settlers to expand and flourish. The leading cause of the wealth for many individuals was agriculture, so they harvested food to survive.

As overpopulation started to become a problem in many of the major cities, it became obvious that people needed food and supplies if they wanted to survive, but do to the new establishment of the railroad’s many citizens were able to keep themselves out of the shantytowns. Due to the Westward Expansion, settlers occupied more territory; this also came with an increase in agriculture production.  With the newly established railroad system, many transported harvest to local cities to help them feed the need to their growing population. As the nation expanded west, the Native Americans needed to come to an understanding that the Americans believed to be meant to expand their territories. As the expansion continued, so did their teaching of democracy and capitalism all across the country.

The teachings caused Native Americans a discomfort as they did not agree or see eye to eye with many beliefs or teachings. Subsequently, this lead to miss treatment and, at times, many of them to get killed along with others that were non-European decent.  With settlers traveling west, they started to claim land that was already occupied by the Native Americans forcing them to leave and cutting them off the resources that were essential for them to survive. The Native Americans were pushed off further with numerous treaties, but they were never kept and eventually and pushed as far west onto smaller reservations they had no choice either they corroborated or be killed so many did cooperate, and many did not if they wanted to survive they needed to have an understanding.

In conclusion, the United States of America felt compelled by the westward expiation, and many influences played into proper development of our country. Settlers also caused much hardship for both settler and Native American in hopes of a better and prosperous life. This was all made possible by the railroads were the country saw major growth and the effects.

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