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Development Of The West Beyond The Mississippi

Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999

The years 1840 to 1890 were a period of great growth for the United States. It was during this time period that the United states came to the conclusion that it had a manifest destiny, that is, it was commanded by god to someday occupy the entire North American continent. One of the most ardent followers of this belief was President James K. Polk. He felt that the United States had the right to whatever amount of territory it chose to, and in doing this the United States was actually doing a favor for the land it seized, by introducing it to the highly advanced culture and way of life of Americans. Shortly after his election he annexed Texas. This added a great amount of land to the United States, but more was to follow. The Oregon Territory became a part of the United States is 1846, followed by the Mexican Cession in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. At this point the United States had accomplished its manifest destiny, it reached from east to west, from sea to shining sea. Now that the lands it so desired were finally there, the United States faced a new problem- how to get its people to settle these lands so they would actually be worth having. Realistically, it is great to have a lot of land, but if the land is unpopulated and undeveloped, it really isn't worth much. And the government of the United States knew this. One of the reasons that many did not choose to settle there immediately was that the lands were quite simply in the middle of nowhere. They were surrounded by mountains, inhabited by hostile Indians, and poor for farming. Because of these geographical conditions, the government was forced to intervene to coax its citizens into settling the new lands. Basically the lands were not settled because they were available, they were settled because of various schemes the government concocted to make them seem desirable. The government participated in a great "push" to get its citizens to move to west. At first few people moved to the west, but this changed when gold was discovered in California in 1848. This caused a "gold rush" to the west coast which consisted of many prospectors seeking to find their fortunes in the gold mines of California. Many traveled to the west coast, however few actually found their fortunes....

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   01/22/1999

Category:   American History

Length:   4 pages (930 words)

Views:   1703

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