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Overview of Westward Expansion

A) Overview of the expansion into the west.
The War of 1812 was followed by a period of exploration and settlement of the territory in the west. There was already a large tract of land received from France as result of Louisiana Agreement. The pioneers between 1816-21 began to explore the unexplored west and settled down in regions known as the Midwest. Later as a result of the exploration and settlement six states were developed.
There were many reasons for the westward expansion. One main reason was the idea of manifest destiny. The Americans believed that God destined them to conquer and civilize the people of America. Other reasons were population growth in eastern states, cheap fertile land, economic opportunities, cheaper and faster transportation, and knowledge of overland trails.
New technologies were developed as a result of the westward expansion. Cotton gin of Eli Whitney increased the production of cotton. Steam boats and locomotives were developed during the period. A major aspect of the westward expansion was the removal of Indians under the President Andrew Jackson. The development of canals and railroads led to the growth of great cities. After the Midwest, the attention was turned towards the far west. Texas became independent as a result of Texas Rebellion and there after started the US Mexican war. US won the war and gained Texas, New Mexico, and California. Oregon territory was later annexed in 1846. US controlled all the land upto the Pacific Ocean.

b) Causes of development:
There were many reasons for development of the west. The development of transportation was one of the major reasons. The whole economy of west was based on cotton. The canal system was developed as a result of steam boats. Introduction railroads greatly contributed to the development of the west. The transcontinental railroad helped the growth of trade and population. Many new industries, for example mining was developed as a result of railroads. Railroads also led to the development of ranching and cattle industry. The policy of Federal government also encouraged the development of the west. The Homestead Act passed in 1862 encouraged the development of agricultural west.

C) Impact of the expansion over the Native Americans:
The Native Americans who lived in the west were greatly affected by the westward expansion. The population growth in the west led to the destruction of the environment and depletion of resources. Many of the native Indians depended on buffaloes for their survival. The settlers and army killed the buffaloes to drive out Indians. Some of the tribes resisted the advancement of the whites but the US army defeated them in a series of battles. They were confined to reservations. Andrew Jackson, the President of the United States followed a policy of coercive removal of Indians with the passage of Indian Removal Act. The expansion also led to the destruction of their culture. The government tried to assimilate the tribes into the mainstreams of American society. The Dawes Act of 1857 was aimed to end the reservation of the natives. Wheeler Howard Act later preserved some of the lands owned by the natives.

d) Physical, social, and economic impact of events on West development
The westward expansion led to the vast expansion of American land. The territory was almost doubled with the Louisiana Purchase. The region experienced exploration, settlement and exploitation.
Socially, the westward expansion destroyed the culture of the Native Americans. Some of the tribes tried to resist the encroachments of the whites. The official policy of the government was to drive out the natives led to series of wars. These wars led to the killings of thousands of Native Americans. The expansion also expanded the institution of slavery.
The development in the west began with the agriculture and later industries. The introduction of cotton, steamboats, and railroads greatly improved the face of the west. It led to the development mining, trade, industry and rise of cities.
e) Commercial and economic development of the West following the Civil War.
The period after the civil war marked the beginning of economic development and industrialization. The US congress authorized the development of transcontinental railroads. The development railroads made the travel to the west easier. The railroads revolutionized the cattle industry. Large scale ranches were developed during this period. The settlers fought the natives for land. The government also encouraged them to occupy lands in the west. This led to the development of agriculture, ranches and farms. A series of mining activities began from California in the west.
f) Business in the sub regions:
Great Plains: The availability of large number of cattle led to the development of ranches. Ranching was the greatest business of the Great Plains.
Rocky Mountains:Fur trade was the important business of the pioneers
South West: Mining was the biggest industry
Northwest: Agriculture was the main business
California: The discovery of gold led to large scale gold mining.
Ref: The American Promise, a History of United States

Solution Preview

a) Overview of the expansion into the west.
The War of 1812 was followed by a period of exploration and settlement of the territory in the west. There was already a large tract of land received from France as result of Louisiana Agreement. The pioneers between 1816-21 began to explore the unexplored west and settled down in regions known as the Midwest. Later as a result of the exploration and settlement six states were developed.
There were many reasons for the westward expansion. One main reason was the idea of manifest destiny. The Americans believed that God destined them to conquer and civilize the people of America. Other reasons were population growth in eastern states, cheap fertile land, economic opportunities, cheaper and faster transportation, and knowledge of overland trails.
New technologies were developed as a result of the westward expansion. Cotton gin of Eli Whitney increased the production of cotton. Steam boats and locomotives were developed during the period. A major aspect of the westward expansion was the removal of Indians under the President Andrew Jackson. The development of canals and railroads led to the growth of great cities. After the Midwest, the attention was turned towards the far west. Texas became independent as a result of Texas ...

Solution Summary

This solution is an overview of the Westward expansion. It explains about the reasons for the Westward expansion. Impact of the western expansion were varied; new technologies, development of transportation, Indian removal, and annexation of new regions to US. The solution describes about the physical, social, and economic impact of the Western expansion. Several businesses were developed in the sub-regions as a result of expansion. New technologies were developed during that period. Cotton gin of Eli Whitney increased the production of cotton. Steam boats and locomotives were developed during the period. Other major aspects of the expansion were the development of canals and railroad, removal of Indians,

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