Westward Expansion Dbq

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During the 18th and 19th century, the United States was experiencing rapid expansion and growth. The purchases of a wide expanses of land, like the Louisiana Purchase, allowed for the territorial expansion of the United States. This allowed presidents after Thomas Jefferson, who spearheaded western expansion, to follow suit with the idea of expansionism.1 While many other treaties and purchases helped with America’s growth, other factors also played into American territorial expansion. The very idea of Manifest Destiny, the success of colonization by the British, and speculation were factors that helped prompt the western expansion.
As with most movements in past and modern times, it all began with a singular idea that helped power or motivate
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3 The phrase was first used by John L. O’ Sullivan and Cora Montgomery, who possibly created the phrase, in the United States Democratic Review in 1839. Furthermore, the term was used to endorse the annexation of Texas by saying it was America’s “Manifest Destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence.” O’ Sullivan used the term again the following year to proclaim the seizing of control over Oregon County, which was controlled by Great Britain. While Manifest Destiny was seen to be unusual by some who opposed, it became popular among many who believed it was within reason.4 Manifest Destiny, through the 1840s, continued to be a major force in the territorial expansion of the United States. However, the ideology had undertaken racial tones. White settlers now used Manifest Destiny as a way to treat nonwhites as inferior and take their land.5 This became evident when scientists would conjure race theories that would prove the dominance of the Anglo-Saxons. Their theories …show more content…
Speculation was considered to be a bad practice because most buyers did not buy the land for settlement, but for their own gain. Although the average colonial family was eager to migrate in search of better opportunities, the minimal rules on purchasing land allowed land speculators to buy it. 18 One of the land polices was the Ordinance of 1785. The ordinance allowed the sale of seven pieces of land, which was a collection of 36 sections of 640 acres. Some of the pieces of land was going to be used by the United States and the rest for schools. The piece of land would cost a prospective buyer a dollar per acre.19 Then, in an effort to decrease speculation, the Land Law of 1800 allowed for only 320 acres of land to be purchased. In 1804, another law further decreased the amount of land that speculators could purchase to 160 acres. 20 Despite the efforts to stop speculation, there was a boom in land sales after 1815. Ohio alone had a record 831,000 acres sold to land speculators. Speculating continued for the next four years, creating states like Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, and Alabama.21 After an economic crash in 1819, there was another land law put in place, this time limiting the amount of land to 80 acres. Again the policy did not stop land speculating, despite a decline in land sales in 1819. However, it did increase speculation, a

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