Westward Movement Essay Research Paper The West

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Westward Movement Essay, Research Paper The West, is so much more to American history than just a cardinal direction. Between 1815 and 1850, it was the sight of many of the events which set precedents, left legacies, and created conflicts. The War of 1812 had simulated interest in the west by clearing out the native Americans providing vast amounts of land ready for any who were willing to take on the west In the years immediately following the second war for independence, thousands of people migrated from the new world, or immigrated from the old to the west. . As the country expanded the West became the “land of promise.” During theses years the populations of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan grew tremendously. The so called “Era of good feelings” began with

Americans looking hopefully towards the west.For a hundred years after Jefferson, the real history of the U.S. was the settlement of the land between the Appalachians and the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the greatest migrations in human history. It went in waves: the Kentucky fever, the Oregon and Texas fevers, the Gold Rush, the Kansas fever. Zebulon Pike announced in 1810 that a large part of America was hopeless desert, buy by 1850 this too, had yielded to Mormon resolution and irrigation and long horned steer. It all happened so fast that neither the Mexicans, who lost the empty half of their country to the infiltrators of “manifest destiny,” nor the bison, which were reduced from an ocean to a curio in three human generations, quite knew what hit them. And where the

settlers went, the “civilizers” women, preachers, scribes, gamblers, speculators, tradesmen, schoolmasters, and men of business went too. Wherever there are people there are problems, and the west was no exception. The westward movement of the population brought the tremendous problem of slavery, into light. Until this great movement of people had occurred, the slave-holding southwest and the non-slave-holding northwest had experienced parallel growth. The issue was forced on both Congress and the United States by immigrants and traders who moved into Missouri. Once the settlers had established themselves there, they began to demand the political and civil rights and privileges which they become accustomed to in the older states, or territories from which they had come. In

1818, the Territory of Missouri applied for admission to the Union as a slave state. At the time of the application there were an equal number of slave and free states in the Union. The balance was about to be upset. Of couse this balance had been upset, temporarily, in the past but previously it has always been easy to decide whether states east of the Mississippi River should be slave or free. Both Mason and Dioxin’s line as well as the Ohio River formed a naturally well understood boundary between the two sections. Unfortunately no one had ever constructed such a line west of the Mississippi River, and to make matters even more complicated one half of Missouri was north of the Ohio River while the other half was south. Both the house and senate heatedly debated on this topic

for months. Finally a compromise was reached. The Missouri compromise stated that Missouri could be admitted as a slave state, and Maine would be admitted as a free state to maintain the balance of power. The compromise also banned slavery from the Louisiana Purchase north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except in the state of Missouri. The Missouri Compromise temporarily maintained the balance between free and slave states, however this crisis was minuscule in comparison to the panic that originated in the West in 1819. A panic is a finical and economic crisis marked by public loss of confidence in the finical structure, it is characterized by runs on banks and a rapid fall of the securities market and usually result in bank failures as well as bankruptcies. The Panic of