Westward expansion – manifest destiny (Theme #11)



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WESTWARD EXPANSION – MANIFEST DESTINY (Theme #11)

(Early 1700s) – fur trade competition urges traders to venture west over Appalachians



Treaty of Paris (1763) – ends the French and Indian War with France ceding its Canadian territories to England who controls North America east of the Mississippi River

Proclamation of 1763 – British told colonists following French & Indian War that they could not settle in the west (west of Appalachian Mountains) due to the expense of protecting settlers there following the war with France and due to Native American resistance like Pontiac’s Rebellion

Land Ordinance of 1785 – passed by Congress under the Articles of Confederation to provide for the surveying of western lands into 6 mile by 6 mile townships to organize and help sell the land; it also provided for the sale of one portion of the township to help pay for public education

Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – sets guidelines for settlement on the American frontier, including the prohibition of slavery and a requirement to deal fairly with Indians; set rules for dividing the territory into states (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin)

Daniel Boone – a pioneer and hunter whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the US; most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the U.S. state of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies; blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky (Kentucky admitted as a state in 1792, Tennessee in 1796)

Pacific Coast Trade (1790s-1820s) – ocean travel to west coast allows for trade with outposts there

Speculators (1790s-1810s) – land laws in 1790s required a minimum purchase of 640 acres hoping that a community of farmers would buy land in groups to create towns; instead speculators bought up the land hoping to profit off of it; this land speculation led to the Panic of 1819

Pinckney’s Treaty or Treaty of San Lorenzo (1795) – establishes the border between the US and Spanish territories along the Mississippi River and gives US merchants the right to ship goods through New Orleans duty-free

Louisiana Purchase (1803) – purchase of territory west of the Mississippi River from Napoleon of France which nearly doubled the size of the US; sparked a controversy as the strict interpretation President Jefferson agreed to the sale though it was not directly allowed by the Constitution

Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) – the first overland expedition by the US to the Pacific coast and back led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark; its goal was to gain an accurate sense of the resources being exchanged in the Louisiana Purchase and laid much of the groundwork for the westward expansion of the US

Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton (1807) – developed the first economically successful steamboat, the Clermont, which carried passengers between New York City and Albany, New York, which was able to make the 300 mile trip in 32 hours; they developed a monopoly over steamboat travel on the Hudson River

Zebulon Pike (1807) – explores the Rocky Mountains (Pike’s Peak in Colorado bears his name)

John Jacob Astor (1810) – expands the fur trade all the way to the Pacific making him a fortune

War of 1812 – ended British support of Native Americans in the west and ended ongoing territorial disputes with British

Adams-Onís Treaty or Transcontinental Treaty (1819) – US added Florida and set western border with Spain

Santa Fe Trail (1820) – merchants with unsold goods in St. Louis (due to the Panic of 1819) traveled south on the trail to sell goods to Mexicans

Squatters (1820s) – settlers move onto lands belonging by treaty to Native Americans without any ownership rights

Stephan Austin (1823) – leading empresario or land agent who brought American settlers to the Mexican territory of Texas (today’s capitol of Texas named after him)

Bureau of Indian Affairs (1824) – created to resolve disputes with western tribes

Erie Canal (1825) – opened up steamboat travel from NYC to Great Lakes bringing large numbers of settlers to the regions along these lakes (most settlers at this time lived near water)

Jedediah Smith (1826) – led 1st party of Americans overland to California; led first wagon train there in 1830

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad or B&O (1830) – begins operations and leads to settlement in west away from waterways and near railroad lines

Indian Removal Act (1830) – passed by Andrew Jackson it moved Native Americans from east of the Mississippi River to west of it in Oklahoma and South Dakota

Pre-emption Act (1830) – grants settlers right to buy 160 acres at $1.25/acre if they have cultivated it for 12 months

Texas Revolution (1836) – American settlers in Texas fought the Mexican army led by Santa Anna; Battle of the Alamo was the most famous battle due to the death of all of the Texas defenders who faced the tremendously larger Mexican army; Sam Houston led the Texans to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto and became the first President of the Republic of Texas

Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842) – agreement with the British that set the border between the US and Canada all the way west to the Rocky Mountains (the same border that currently exists there)

Oregon Trail (1843) – opening of the trail that is most famous for bringing wagon trains to the west; John Fremont led the expedition that mapped its route

Annexation of Texas (1844) – the US annexed newly independent Texas into the Union

Manifest Destiny (1845) – term coined by journalist, John L. O’Sullivan; it was the 19th century belief that the US was destined to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean; it was used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico; the concept was denounced by Whigs, and fell into disuse after the mid 1850s

Oregon Treaty (1846) – set border between US and Canada to the Pacific coast extending the Webster-Ashburton Treaty line at the 49th parallel latitude

Brigham Young (1845-1847) – led Mormons away from persecution in the east to the remote region of Utah, just beyond the existing borders of the US at the time

Mexican-American War (1846-1848) – fought due to border dispute between Texas and Mexico – Mexico thought the border was the Nueces River, and the US thought the border was further south at the Rio Grande; the war was a clear victory for the US

John Fremont (1846) – brought the US Army force under his command to California to support their small revolution and creation of the Bear Flag Republic; previously mapped the Oregon Trail; later was the first candidate for President of the Republican Party in 1856

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) – officially ended the Mexican-American War and gave the US undisputed control of Texas, established the U.S.-Mexican border of the Rio Grande River, and ceded to the US the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming; in return Mexico received US $18,250,000

Sutter’s Mill (1848) – gold was found there leading to the California Gold Rush in 1849 and the ‘49ers or miners who rushed there; nearby San Francisco’s population swelled from 150 to 50,000 (ultimate boom town)

Compromise of 1850 – along with handling other issues related to slavery, it admitted California into the union just two years after gold was discovered there

Gadsden Purchase (1853) – purchase from Mexico of a small strip of land along current Arizona and New Mexico border for the purpose of building a railroad there to the Pacific

Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) – organizes those territories and determines that popular sovereignty would be used to decide the issue in the territories as they proceed toward ultimate statehood

Cross-country stage coach (1858) – the first non-stop stage coach from St. Louis arrives in Los Angeles

Comstock Lode (1859) – first large discovery of silver in the US near Virginia City, Nevada created more boom towns and led to an increased supply of it and future arguments over use of silver to back money supply

Pony Express (1860) – mail delivery service first crosses the country from the Midwest to California; it uses short sprints with fresh horses and riders who change horses frequently along the way

Transcontinental telegraph (1861) – first telegraph line that crosses the west to reach California

Homestead Act (1862) – federal law that gave 160 acres of land free to any settler who moved there and improved it for a five year period; helped to greatly increase settlement of the Great Plains

Morrill Land Grant Act (1862) – federal land to be sold in states to raise money for creation of colleges in those states (mostly universities that that bear names like “State” or “A&M” such as Iowa State University or Texas A&M University – A&M stands for Agriculture and Mining)

Seward’s Folly or Seward’s Icebox (1867) – nickname for the Purchase of Alaska; named after the Secretary of State at the time, William Seward; ridiculed the purchase as expensive and for acquiring land that seemed useless; this negative opinion changed with the discovery of gold there in the 1890s and with the discovery of oil there in the next century

First cattle drive from Texas to railroads in Kansas (1867) – to get cattle to eastern markets using the railroads in Kansas; Joseph McCoy opened a market in Abilene to purchase the cattle; most important early route was the Chisholm Trail from Fort Worth, Texas to Abilene, Kansas

Pacific Railroad Act (1862) – with it Congress authorized the construction of the transcontinental railroad and gave 10 square miles of land for every mile of track built to the two construction companies that worked on the project – the Union Pacific which hired civil war veterans and Irish immigrants to build west from Omaha, Nebraska and the Central Pacific which hired Chinese immigrants to build east from Sacramento, California; the two lines met at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869

Wyoming women gain right to vote (1869) – women in this territory permanently gained the right to vote prior to any other territory or state in the Union

“Buffalo Bill” or William Cody (1870) – he along with other buffalo hunters arrive in the Great Plains and begin to slaughter the buffalo for food for railroad workers, to keep the animals off of the tracks, and to deprive the Native Americans there of these animals to get them to vacate territory; Buffalo Bill later became famous for his traveling Wild West shows the glorified life in the west

Joseph Glidden (1874) – gains a patent for barbed wire, which helps farmers on the Great Plains fence in their fields to keep cattle out; barbed wire along with wind mills to pump water from below the ground make the Great Plains habitable for farmers

Desert Land Act (1877) – permits settlers to buy up to 640 acres of land at $.25/acre in arid areas if they irrigate it

Timber Act (1878) – sold western timberland for $2.50/acre in 160 acre blocks (land unfit for farming)

Indian Wars (1870s-1880s) – US Army fought tribes in the Great Plains and in the west who refused to go to reservations, which opened up the region for greater settlement

Northern Pacific Railroad completed (1883)

Pearl Harbor (1887) – naval base built through treaty with Hawaii

Oklahoma Land Rush (1889) – last piece of open frontier land was opened for settlement on a specific date; settlers rushed in to claim parcels of land which used to belong to Native American reservations in the region previously known as Indian Territory

Frederick Jackson Turner (1893) – historian who wrote The Significance of the Frontier in American History, which described his belief that a key factor in the development of American individualism and democracy was the frontier and western expansion

Klondike Gold Rush (1897) – gold discovered in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory led to rush there

U.S. annexes Hawaii (1898)

Arizona becomes a state (1912) – it is admitted as the last of the 48 contiguous states


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