Westward Expansion Effects

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Westward expansion caused strains with international relations (Britain and Mexico) but strengthened Franco-American ties, introduced new economic threats and opportunities, highlighted the divide between the Northern and Southern states concerning slavery, and resulted in conflicts with native Americans and among Americans themselves (Civil War 1861). Following the Manifest Destiny, American citizens were determined to see the “land of the free” become a reality. Occasionally, pioneers had the opportunity to buy profitable land peacefully from Native Americans, resulting in political stability as it was cheap and was beneficial to the agricultural economy. Some long-term effects of the political changes led to America becoming a Great Power…show more content…
Britain and America’s relationship changed as American colonists fought for independence. Before the Seven Years War (1756-1763), “America” comprised of 13 colonies under British control and the attitude towards British rule was complex. The aftermath of this War strengthened the position of these colonies as it removed European Rivals (France in Canada) and opened the Mississippi for expansion but in doing so, destabilised the borders. It did not provide much political change for American people as British control was still in clear effect in 1763 shown by the Royal Proclamation, which led to a temporary line limiting expansion but which no American could settle across. This angered the American colonists who wanted to keep their local government control and expand into new farmlands. To the American colonists, it seemed Britain was taking the side of the Native Americans, increasing tensions between the colonists and the British. Therefore, with other failed policies of the British government, such as the Sugar Act (1764), this inspired the American War of Independence. Due to American success, the Treaty of Paris (1783) ended the War and Britain agreed to new boundaries of the American nation. Independence enabled colonists to create a new constitution based…show more content…
The annexation of Texas led to the Mexican-American War (1846-48). As Mexico surrendered, the War ended with the peace treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. 525,000 square miles of land was given to America (more than obtained in the Louisiana Purchase). It was potentially stabilising, as it provided the U.S. with access to new materials and ports, if not for the fact that it rekindled the slavery debate. Furthermore, tensions between Mexico and the U.S. halted the plans for a transcontinental railway. A further treaty had to be made, Gadsden Purchase (1853), but resulted in more disputes over the U.S. border and failed to resolve the issues between Mexico and America. The political instability was shown in the reaction to the Wilmot Proviso “the acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty which may be negotiated between them…neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory”. The North supported it as they thought slaves’ jobs could be given to free workers, and the South opposed it because they saw slaves as their property (under the Constitution) and feared more free states. This is because Free states would mean plantation owners would lose income and political power. The Proviso did show the
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