The American Continental Expansion Essay


The American expansion was an essential determinant of economic activity and geographic distribution in the USA in the 19th century. It was a process fuelled by the gold rush mining the gold in California, and the belief in the phrase “manifest destiny” and availability of large tracts of farmland to the west. The purchase of land was aided by the enactment of expansion laws and introduction and acceptance of paper money.

The American Continental Expansion Essay

Population growth encouraged investment in productive land, and transport infrastructure while technological innovations led to a reduction in transport costs and consequently induced migration to the west. Transport infrastructure such as railroads, roads, and canals connecting towns escalated the expansion. The western frontier created an opportunity for independence and upward social status mobility. By 1840, 40% of the American population had moved to the trans-Appalachian west.

The Native Americans

US Actions and Policy

Westward expansion began with a search for new economic opportunities. The government aided this expansion by formulating laws enhancing acquiring of land from the natives. As an illustration the purchase of Louisiana by the government increased the size of land and opened up the region for exploration and settlement. Laws and treaties were later passed and signed to restrict land ownership claims to facilitate expansion. For example, in 1830, President Andrew Jackson instituted a coercive removal policy (The Indian Removal Act) allowing the removal of Indians by force when necessary (Black, 69).

In the 1830s, Indians were removed from being court witnesses in cases involving white, leading to the removal of chic saws, Choctaws, Seminoles, and creeks from their communal lands. In 1832, the USA government attempted to enforce treaty terms demanding removing sacs from their Saukenuk village. The Treaty of Ghent and the Louisiana Purchase ended the war of 1812. Consequently, the American territory’s infringement by foreigners in North America. The protections that the regions had received from the foreign powers, especially Britain, were removed, giving the country the freedom to expand.

Native Response

The movement triggered a conflict with the Indians, who were the earliest settlers of the territory. The land was acquired by treaty or force. The invasion disrupted the local Indian nations. Some of them wanted to accommodate the Euro-Americans while others were strongly opposed to contacting with the whites. The Black Hawk, the chief of the local people, led the defiance against the USA government. A war ensued, leading to the routing of the Indian families and escape of the sac families by the Illinois state militia and USA troops. The incident was followed by a treaty that opened eastern Iowa to the settlement of Americans. The Meskwaki and Sac, who were allies, were pushed to central Iowa. Newer treaties providing for the relocation of the native tribes to the western areas and removing the Indian claim of the land were formulated.

The fate of Cherokees

Cherokees were among the Five Civilized Tribes that occupied large tracts of land in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida. The Cherokees attempted to resist and declared themselves an independent nation in 1829 within Georgia after the enactment of the Indian removal Act, but the legislature passed laws giving it jurisdiction over the USA. The Supreme Court ruled that Cherokees were a dependent nation entitled to protection. Then again, there were divisions among the Cherokees. Then again, the Cherokees themselves were divided in the issue. In 1835, the federal government agents compelled the pro-removal chief to sign a treaty of new Echota according to Garvin (421 The American Continental Expansion Essay). The subsequent resistance turned futile. Within three years, the Cherokee Indians moved to the west of Mississippi. During migration, between 4000 and 16,000 Cherokees died.

The Texas Revolution

The revolution, also referred to as the war for Texas Independence War was between Mexico and Texas colonists. It erupted in 1835 and ended in 1836, leading to the state’s independence from Mexico and founding Texas’s republic in the war, the Texans and Tejanos united against the centralist Mexican government. Texas was opposed to the regime of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who curtailed the rights of citizens including migration from America (East Texas Historical Journal 3). The government of Mexico believed that the USA a d instigated Texas’s insurrection with a goal of annexation. In response, Mexico’s congress passed a law called Tornel Decree that declared treatment of any foreigner fighting against the Mexican troops as a pirate and fighting against the government with no recognized flag. With the help of the USA volunteers, the Texians defeated a small garrison of American soldiers in 1835. The war led to the establishment of Texas republic that was later annexed by the USA

The war with Mexico

The war between the USA and Mexico spanned between 1846 and 1848 as a result of the annexation of Texas by the USA in 1845. The USA was initially reluctant to include Texas into the Union due to the resistance of Northern states opposed to the inclusion of new slave states. However, in his campaigns, President James Polk stated that he would re-annex the region, a promise which he fulfilled. Mexico was opposed to America’s increased land seizure from the other empire and growth into a formidable military power. The war lasted for ten weeks, and America was victorious. America continued with its expansionism policies until 1848, when the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed, leading to half of Mexico’s land to the USA. Oregon’s annexation was critical to the USA foreign policy because the area was rich in commercial possibilities. For northerners, Oregon’s USA control was necessary because the Northwest pacific could be a vital gate to trading with Asia.


Ideally, the expansion policy entailed acquiring lands from Mexico, a country that the USA perceived to be inferior. By the end of the war, America had annexed more than half a million n squire miles of territory westwards from the Rio Grande to the Pacific Ocean. The 1845 phrase’ manifest destiny was a phrase suggesting that America is destined by God to expand its dominion and spread capitalism across the entire North America continent.  However, the process involved bloodshed, use of coercive forces against the rivals and infringing the rights of locals. Therefore, the policy was not a manifest destiny but a manifest design.

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