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Westward Expansion

The philosophy of Manifest Destiny, which led to westward expansion, caused hardships, several wars and hostilities between countries and also between people occupying the American land. It also led to new lives, comradery, development, an expanding economy, and it achieved the ultimate goal of possession and the United States which spread from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. The effects of the United States expanding its territory to the West can still be seen today. When one looks at the resentment of the Mexican people towards the American government, the roots of this are founded in the Mexican-American War when the United States government took advantage of the bankrupt Mexican government by offering 15 million as payment

for having the border in the middle of the Rio Grande River and in addition, the United States agreed to pay off all Mexican debts owed to the United States. On a more positive note, the acquirements of the Western areas have greatly increased the United States’ economical and political power to such an extent that it is impossible to say what it would be like without California, Texas, Oregon, and the other large Western states.

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The overall negative effects of Westward Expansion for the peoples of the Anglo-Saxon race and the U.S. Government as a whole are minuscule to the advantages of having possession of the western territories and to the hardships its neighbours faced due to the United States ambitious goals. The ideology of Manifest Destiny gave the Americans a supposed “God-given” right to expand out West, and any persons interfering with this were just an obstacle on their course to achieve their destiny.

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The Native American Indians and the country of Mexico were two main obstacles that were ultimately defeated due to Westward Expansion. Before Americans moved out West, the main inhabitants of the lands were the Native American Indians. With The large influx of gold seekers and others hoping to start a new life or increase their wealth, the American government underwent a policy of removal.

Indians were removed from land that was ready to be settled in order to make the land more attractive to settlers. This policy of removal to unfit land came into precedence in1812 after the Battle Of Tippecanoe where the Indians attempted resistance. America’s feud with Mexico began with the eruption of hostilities over the annexation of Texas in 1845, claims of property damage by US citizens against the Mexican government and the desire of the United States to acquire California into their boundaries (manifest destiny).

In the end, the United States was triumphant with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which established the Texan border and ceded New Mexico and California, all this was acquired for the sum of $15 million and responsibility for US claims against the Mexican government. A very small price for the United States, but Mexico had no choice as they were lacking in funds and superior in strength.

Another consequence of Westward Expansion was when the question of slavery came up in context to westward expansion as it caused a disruption within the union and hatred between states and political parties. The first question of slavery was aroused in relation to Missouri who applied for statehood in 1818. The issue of slavery would be brought into the prevalence and would eventually turn into an issue that would divide the union into sides that would clash in conflict. The struggle over new Western territories would continue to affect migration routes and numbers in accordance with their position upon slavery. Westward Expansion consequentially caused the loss of power land to the Mexicans and Native Indians, while it also aroused the issue of slavery between the North and South.

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While Westward Expansion hurt those not part of the United States, it immensely increased the power and wealth of the American Government and its people. The call of Westward migration was largely related to the economic situation of the East and in times of hardships or depression the West was a form of escape and created the opportunities to rebuild the losses they had felt during the different economic depressions the first example of this occurred in 1806 when business restrictions in the East caused economic problems, then in n 1807, the Embargo Act increased the economic troubles of the nation. Still to come there were economic depressions in 1818 and 1839.

Westward Expansion created land for those troubled in the economic turmoil. While it did not have an immediate effect, over time it created more markets and a much larger economy, while also providing relief for those in desperate need at the time. Acquiring the western territories also relieved fears of any old-world foes, and made the United States the dominant fore in North America. America’s obtaining of the western lands has had a huge impact on the nation, it is impossible to say how the US or the world might be without it.

Westward Expansion was a very substantial force in the history of the United States and the history of the world. It has shaped America into the nation that it is now, spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans, the largest and single most powerful economy on Earth. Without California and Texas and the other western states, it is most improbable that any of this could have happened. If they were still separate countries, the United States would have a lot more competition and fewer resources to become the dominant force in the region. Achieving this ‘manifest destiny’ has come at a high price, not for the United States, but for the Native American Indians who were forced of their lands and freedom and for Mexico in losing a large mass of land and its chance of becoming a superpower. It is a story of triumph for the Anglo-Saxons of the United States and a story of defeat for the native people who once lived free in the West.

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Westward Expansion. (2021, Sep 28). Retrieved December 1, 2022, from