Western Expansion

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Yuta Ogawa Segal, Samantha US History I Honors May 17, 2010 Westward Expansion DBQ Manifest Destiny was the belief that the United States of America had the destiny of expanding across North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. This terms meaning has changed and been misused over the years. It was used as a justification for the Mexican War, and eventually was led to believe that it was to expand slavery. The main purpose of Manifest Destiny was not to expand the institution of slavery but of expanding economy, expanding territories, and mostly nationalism. The expansion of slavery was a mere consequence of the otherwise successful Manifest Destiny. Money runs the world. There is no doubt that acquiring resources and expanding a nation is necessary for the existence of a country. Americans realized this and was in dire need of expanding. Expanding lands offer many more resources and more room for the population. With more resources comes more wealth, which is what the expansion offered. “Across the Plains in a Prairie Schooner” by Catherine Haun (Document G) describes the “gold fever” which took over the nation. The US was in a “period of national hard times” and many moved towards California in hopes of finding gold. This supports the fact that expansion was for gaining wealth and not for spreading the institution of slavery. Immigrants came to discover new lands for many reasons including freedoms, expanding wealth, and starting new lives. When the United States was established as a country, it started to expand. This prominent new land offered many immigrants a fresh start in life. Soon problems arose and the isolated area was in brink of overpopulation. This is when the US started to expand. Life is about survival of the fittest and America is a perfect example of this. Americans saw the opportunity to expand and took it. The Natives were believed to not use the land for its full potential, which is another reason to take and use the land. The “promised land” was a beautiful land as described by the song “To the West”. (Document D) The song states lines such as “to the land of the free” and shows no signs of wanting to spread slavery. Manifest Destiny to those whom sang this song was about acquiring the beautiful “promised land” and strengthening the nation. Slavery was the unfortunate institution that followed the expansion of the US. The expansion west was inevitable and was believed it should be taken by Americans.

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