Reasons For Westward Expansion

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Varied reasons promoted America’s Westward Expansion in the 19th century. In the beginning of the century, the main expansion catalysts were the nation’s new acquisition of land and opportunities. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from France, doubling the size of the United States and providing a large area west for expansion. During the 1820s, westward migration became popular among American citizens, however, they experienced difficulty pervading national borders as a result of Indians occupying the surrounding land. In response to this, Hamilton passed a law in 1830 to remove Native Americans from their promised territories bordering the United States; later known as the Indian Removal Act. From 1830 to …show more content…
A specific example of American Westward Expansion is the Indian Removal Act. With Americans pushing past boundaries of the states’ borders, white infringement onto native land was inevitable, and the rise of tensions and violence on the frontier ensued. To protect Americans and encourage movement west, government officials knew something had to be done about the natives. An advocate for Westward Expansion, President Andrew Jackson (1829), required the natives’ submit to the American government if they wanted protection from American’s taking their land. Knowing the natives would choose to remain independent, President Jackson (1829) proposed to, “[set] apart an ample district.... to the Indian tribes,” so that, “they may be secured in the enjoyment of governments of their own choice,” (para. 4). Later known as the Indian Removal Act, Jackson’s law issued an ultimatum for the Indians: either submit to American rule, or be legally subject to “abandon the graves of their fathers,” and forced to travel thousands of miles to “seek a home in a distant land,” (Jackson, 1829, para. 5). The Americans forced the natives off their land so that they could take it for themselves, and the brutal relocation of natives proved lethal to thousands. We have this idea that we (“normal” Americans) are above the Indians. Because we took their land, forced them off their land, killed, and dominated the Indians once before, we still see ourselves as dominating over them. Sure, there have been accomadations (scholarships for college, Indian reservations implemented, etc) and apologies given to the Indians, but we still see them pretty much as foreigners residing on our

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