History WWII Essay

Submitted By deanfreeberg
Words: 995
Pages: 4

The Roots of America Today
Since its establishment over 200 years ago, America has continued to develop into one of the most powerful countries in the world. Today, the United States stands as the world's oldest existing federation, upholding the ideals of a constitutional republic. In such a system, government officials represent the people's interest and abide by constitutional law. Yet, it is not possible to recognize the developments of the United States without acknowledging the steps taken to get there. Although collective handfuls of different ideas pushed for American development, three specific events led America toward contemporary expansion. What events in American history most greatly shaped and expanded the United States in the 1800s? Without a doubt, the establishment of the Constitution and the Jacksonian democracy heavily added to the progress of an already rising country. But in fact, the combined effects of manifest destiny, western expansion, and the Gold Rush all expanded America's borders and helped spread the notion of democracy.

The need to expand beyond the restricting borders of America soon became a prevalent necessity for all Americans. Settlers in the beginning of the 19th century began pushing up the Northwest Territory with the initiative of manifest destiny, the idea of occupying area from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. A number of specific reasons also contributed to the influence of manifest destiny. Settlers trying to avoid the same economic catastrophes of the past, such as the panic of 1837, moved west for economic reasons. As more travelers established homes in the West, business followed in search of new markets for their goods. In addition, many traveled west to escape religious persecution. The most notable example was the Mormon migration. Following pressure from a number of anti-Mormon groups to move and the murder of their founder Joseph Smith, the Mormons moved southwest to Utah and settled in peace. These factors combined together to form a domino effect that pushed millions of settlers to inhabit recently acquired areas such as California and New Mexico. Afraid of being robbed on their route to the West, travelers migrated in groups and formed trails such as the Oregon and Santa Fe Trail. For many decades, these trails would stand as main routes of transportation for migrating Americans. The belief of manifest destiny also began to slowly change the mindset of the everyday American, as the notion introduced a sense of American superiority. The concerns of other countries were put second to the ever growing desire to settle west. Eventually, this bottled down aspiration triggered the beginning of the process known as western expansion.

Many tend to use the terms "manifest destiny" and "western expansion" interchangeably, when in fact, one led to the other. The continuous need to settle west initiated the start of western expansion. Western expansion helped increase American influence by expanding the country's borders from 13 colonies to the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Through a series of negotiations and wars, America acquired enough land to more than double in size. In one of the most notable acquisitions in US history, the Louisiana Purchase, Napoleon had offered to sell the land stretching from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. Thomas Jefferson settled the deal by paying $15 million for the area which consequently doubled the size of the United States at the time. Today, the purchased area comprises of over a fifth of the countries boundaries. Around forty years later, war would erupt between America and Mexico driven by the idea of western expansion. Conflict was instigated as Mexico claimed Texas was their territory following its US annexation. After two years of persistent fighting, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo rewarded the American victory with a number of states previously of Mexican possession. For the price of $15 million, the Rio