Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion Manifest Destiny: the belief that the expansion of the US throughout the American continents was both justified and inevitable. In the 1800’s, America believed that it was their duty to expand west and create more opportunities and get more land. The Chinese, The Mexican-American War, and the purchase of the Oregon Country all helped America all helped America expand West. By the end of Westward’s Expansion in America, the country moved closer to the ideal of opportunity, by Oregon Country, The Mexican-American War, and the Chinese.  As the west were beginning to settle, new opportunities to form from the purchase of the Oregon Country. America found a path to the Pacific Ocean and found it to expand and gain economic benefits. America claimed the and northwest of Texas underneath the 49th Parallel. In the Oregon Country, there are multiple rivers, mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. This helped many farmers, traders, and merchants. The economic benefits they gained from claiming the Oregon Country created opportunities for all. Not only did men face the dangers of the travel to Oregon Country, but the pioneer women did too. Julia Archibald Holmes recalls that, “I have accomplished the task I marked out for myself [reaching Pike’s Peak, the highest point in the Rocky Mountains] …” (Doc 1). By showing America that they do what the men can do, they create opportunities in the west and have an impact on all women in the west. The pioneer women created opportunities for not only themselves, but other women all over America.  During America’s Expansion to the west, The Mexican-American War was all the US needed to get California which eventually led to many opportunities. Around April 1846, President James K. Polk wanted as much land as possible. The Mexicans and the Americans could not agree on a border between Texas and Mexico. Polk declared War on Mexico on May 13, 1846. On April 25, 1846, Mexican soldiers fired upon US troops who were by the Rio Grande. General Kearny led the army out of Kansas to occupy New Mexico and continue all the way to California. They soon captured New Mexico, joined forces with the rebels in California, the then the US had New Mexico and California in US control. Later in September 1847, Scott’s Army captured Mexico City. They soon had all of present-day Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and California. Mr. Shufelt, a gold miner said, “this does not alter the fact about the gold being plenty here…” (Doc 3). This shows that fighting the Mexican-American War led thousands of people to California to join in the gold rush. The Mexican-American War not only led people to finding gold, but it led people to settle in the areas with economic benefits, like the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, the multiple rivers, and the fertile soil all around the west. When the Chinese immigrants started coming over to the US, they wanted an opportunity to live in the US. However, many people argue that the US decreased the opportunity by only offering them to mine for gold. While this position is popular, it is not supported by the facts because when the Chinese arrived, they were offered more than just mining jobs. In 1849 during the gold rush in California, the Chinese started arriving in the US to join the gold rush. While all the Americans were having terrible luck and absolutely no success. The Chinese were collecting all the gold and the American miners saw them as stealing their gold. The US created a law and American miners tried to force them out. Pun Chi, a Chinese merchant said, “We are Natives of the empire of China, each following some employment or profession-literary men, farmers, mechanics, or merchants… the people of other lands were welcomed here to search for gold and to engage in trade” (Doc 6). The Chinese came to America only focused on the gold and thought that was the only way they could survive in the US, but the US had so much more to offer that could give them the same. The merchants would work on the seaside, the farmers would use all the land they had to start growing crops and raise animals, and the mechanics would work where they could. This helped them spread their culture, shape the west, and provide more opportunity for everyone living in the west. The Oregon Country, The Mexican-American War, and the Chinese all helped America move closer to the ideal of opportunity by the end of the Westward expansion. In the 1800’s, America believed in Manifest Destiny and wanted to expand West. They walked thousands of miles, fought wars, made treaties, and broke laws to get all of the land we have today. They shaped the United States to what it is today. Opportunity: a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something, also a founding ideal. Not only did we have opportunities throughout the Westward Expansion, but more and more opportunities are still growing until today.