Western Expansion Essay

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Westward Expansion: A Force for Unity or Division? We will investigate this question with two distinct activities. In the first, we will examine the nature of western expansion and in the second we will look at the impact of this expansion on the attitudes of Americans. Enlarging the National State. Part A Directions: Today Americans unanimously accept the present territorial boundaries of the continental United States. That was not always the case. Opponents of expansion objected to the acquisition of each piece of land. However, the dominant theme in the country’s past has always been expansion. Research each of the following acquisitions of the United States, and complete the chart to show how the United States accomplished expansion to the Pacific. Territory | Key Symbol | Date Acquired | Previous Owner | Circumstances of Acquisition | 1. Original United States | | 1783 | Britain | Revolutionary war, ending in Treaty of Paris of 1783, western boundary was Mississippi River | 2. Louisiana Purchase | Red | 1803 | France | Purchased from France for $15 million from Napoleon, viewed it as unconstitutional, yet essential for agrarian republic. Napoleon needed cash and no longer wanted the land | 3. British Cession | | 1818 | Britain | Treaty of 1818, cleared up disputed territory in the north and northwest, agreed to joint occupation of Oregon territory, also set US/British Canadian boundary at 49th parallel | 4. Spanish Cession | | 1819 | Spain | Spain agreed to cede east Florida in exchange for American renunciation of claims on Spanish Texas and assumption of $5 million owed by Spain to American citizens | 5. Texas Annexation | | 1845 | Spain | Texas won independence from Mexico, but Mexico challenged the claim, Whig Tyler urged Congress for a joint resolution, signed into law before he left office in 1845 | 6. Oregon

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