What Was Westward Expansion?
Westward expansion was a time when new states were being added to the U.S. It was a time where U.S. citizens moved westward after the Louisiana Land and other Territories were added to the U.S. This website is made to inform you about this time.
Why Move to the West?
As the new world continued to grow in population, citizens needed more elbow room. Thomas Jefferson saw this as a major problem, so he reached out to Napoleon Bonaparte to purchase the Louisiana Territory, an area owned by France at the time. Bonaparte accepted the offer, and the Louisiana Territory was bought for $15 Million Dollars. (This meant a lot more back in the day) In addition to this, treaties were made with Spain and England for territories like Oregon and Florida. Also, there was a war with Mexico that gained us the states California, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. With all this land, many U.S citizens saw opportunity for cheap land and jobs. Some people even spread the word that expansion was for the good of the country. They called it "Manifest Destiny".
What Was Life on the Trail Like?
Life on the Oregon Trail was often times very hard. The camp was woken up at 4:00 in the morning. At 5:30 women and children fixed breakfast, (usually bacon or corn porridge) and then they set on the trail. By the end of the day, they have usually traveled about fifteen miles, but on a good day, it was eighteen or twenty. At the end of the day, they go to sleep at 7:00 p.m. Children did work like getting wood "buffalo chips" (dried animal manure) for fires, herding animals, milking cows, and helping wash the dishes and cook.
What Are Some Fun Facts About Westward Expansion?
- Louisiana Purchase stretched from Mississippi River to Rocky Mountains and from Canada to New Orleans, it doubled the size of United States.
- In 1853, the Gadsden Purchase added about 30,000 square miles of Mexican territory to the United States and fixed the boundaries of the “lower 48” where they are today.
- In 1845, journalist, John O’Sullivan coined the term "Manifest Destiny,"
- The Native Americans were removed from their lands during westward expansion, and were forced onto reserves.
- Some people trying to stake land claims would sneak ahead and hide until the land rush began. Then they would stake their land. They were nicknamed 'Sooners'.
- From 1800 to 1900, during westward expansion, the population of the United States increased from 5 million to 76 million.
- The South wanted to expand slavery into the North during westward expansion but the North did not want slavery to be legal.
- The MAIN reason to move West was the Homestead Act (Cheap land!)
- New inventions that helped people move West include; deep steel plow, dry farming, sod houses, barbed wire, windmills etc.
- Railroads made the West successful because they provided a great way for farmers and ranchers to transport cattle and crops raised on the Great Plains to markets in the East.
- Dry farming was an important new farming technique because it allowed farmers to grow wheat in the West's tough soil.