Westward expansion in American history exploded for several reasons. First, it came from population pressure and the desire for more land, particularly quality farmland. Expansion was also motivated by religious and civic ideology and conflicting forces over the question of slavery and its continued existence. According to UShistory.org, expansion grew with the discovery of gold in the western territories.Continue Reading
With the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent land acquisitions, U.S. territory grew exponentially in the first half of the 19th century. Populations huddled on the east coast saw grand opportunities to move into more expansive areas where land was cheap and more arable than it was back east, particularly in New England. As noted by UShistory.org, “the desire for land brought aspiring homesteaders to the frontier. When gold was discovered in California in 1848, the number of migrants increased even more.”
Ideology also functioned powerfully. With Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine, many Americans came to feel entitled to take land in the west, that it somehow fundamentally belonged to them. This sense of destiny was often abetted by a prevailing sense of racial superiority over the peoples who inhabited those territories. Native Americans were considered savages, and economic motives for expansion were thus further justified by the effort of “civilizing” them and converting them to Christianity.
Slavery was yet another factor. By the mid-19th century, debates over slavery in Congress were extremely contentious. Several compromises narrowly avoided conflict, each trying to preserve the tenuous balance between free and slave states. With the western territories, each side saw the opportunity to spread its particular agenda. Nowhere perhaps was the result more devastating than in Kansas, where pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers clashed in a violent confrontation over the future status of the state. This became known as “Bleeding Kansas,” as stated by the American Anthropological Association.Learn more about US History
The Great Puritan Migration refers to the period in American history between 1630 and 1640, during which 20,000 English Puritans emigrated to the United States. Their principal motivation for leaving England was to escape religious persecution.Full Answer >
Abraham Lincoln oversaw many important events in American history following his election in 1861, such as the American Civil war, which began approximately a month after he was elected, and the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation. He died in 1865 shortly after beginning his second term as president.Full Answer >
Some facts about early American history are that the English colonies weren't the first in North America, the settlement of Roanoke disappeared and the early settlers had a bloody history with the Native Americans. The American colonies were first divided into tobacco colonies, which consisted of Virginia and Maryland; New England colonies, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire; the middle colonies of New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania; and the southern colonies, containing North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.Full Answer >
To create an American history timeline, first decide on the beginning and ending years in your chronology. The theme of your project dictates which years you choose; for example, a timeline project on the Civil War begins with the year 1861 and ends with the year 1865. A timeline that explains the Cherokee Trail of Tears focuses on events leading up to and following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.Full Answer >