Westward Expansion Summary - Kristen Mason - Hour 8

"Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way" (1861) by Emanuel Leutze

Beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, the United States began living out the idea of Manifest Destiny.  From this point on Americans were headed West with various motivations in mind.  Some moved west for cultural reasons such as religion and freedom from society, some moved for economic reasons with the hope of more financial opportunities, others moved for political reasons like more land and power.  No matter the reason one thing was common - the West held opportunity.  There was opportunity for the Mormons to gain freedom from religious persecution.  The Gold Rush provided opportunities for the average person to strike it rich.  The United States was given the opportunity to conquer new lands from Mexico which added power and more territory to the country.  Although these opportunities meant devastation for some, the overall gain for our country was insurmountable.