Westward Expansionism

1354 Words 6 Pages
In the first half of the 1800s, America would double in size from the original thirteen British colonies to the entire span of the continent, from the east to the west coast. This was mainly due to the idea of Manifest destiny, defined as the god given right to expand westward and cover the entire continent. Numerous expansionist events took place throughout the period, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Oregon treaty, and the Mexican secession. All of these imperialistic events allowed Americans to push westward, but it created many proponent and opponents, to expansion. It greatly damaged the national unity the north and south had. However, every debate about westward expansion has led to the actions of the United States’ government and …show more content…
This ideal was popular with many people as it supported American cultural and racial superiority. It also would support economic aims, such as increased trade and getting more land for farming. As said by Thomas Hart Benton in 1844 to the Senate, “[T]he settlers in Oregon will also recover and open for us the North American road to India! This road lies through the South Pass, and the mouth of the Oregon; and as soon as the settlements are made, our portion of the North American continent will immediately commence its Asiatic trade on this new and national route.” Benton’s prediction that Oregon would open up trade was done before the majority of Oregon was given to the United States, making Americans desire the land all the more. Because of the work of people like Benton, Oregon was eventually signed over to America in the Oregon treaty of 1846. Manifest Destiny was also supported by immigrants, such as John Jacob Astor, who made a textile company that benefitted from trade with other places, like Asia. James K Polk, the president who won the election of 1844, was also a major supporter of this ideal. During his presidency, he acquired Oregon from Britain, and he acquired the Mexican secession, which included the states, Texas, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Colorado, …show more content…
In 1854, Franklin Pierce wanted to acquire the Island of Cuba as a slave state through the Ostend Manifesto created by James K Polk. The Manifesto stated,” [B]y every law, human and divine, we shall be justified in wresting [Cuba] from Spain if we possess the power...” which meant that the United States could take Cuba from Spain through force. The acquiring of Cuba could help restore the balance in the senate by equalizing the number of free and slave states. But there were some problems. First, people wondered if the United States to push Spain out of Cuba. But it also split the North and South apart because the North felt like they were going to war to help slavery expand, which was against their beliefs. The manifest was never acted out, but it kept the interests on Cuba high even after the Civil

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