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Westward Expansion and the Effects on the United States

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Essay title: Westward Expansion and the Effects on the United States


Westward Expansion and the Effects

On the United States

October 3, 2007


The Louisiana Purchase was the largest land deal in our history. It doubled the size of the United States and gave us a strong face as an economic power. It brought immigrants from all over the world for the idea of owning land and making a living for themselves. We also had a second expansion with the Adams-Onis treaty in 1819 (Davidson, 2002, p.p. 246-247) where we clearly defined the United States and Spanish board to the Pacific and obtained the Florida territory. This gave the United State a firm foothold and clearly defined boarders for the first time in our history.

With the foreign, French, British, and Spanish, citizens already living on the land we as a nation truly began to meld our cultures into what is now the United States. This paper will identify the timeline of the purchase and the reasoning behind the purchase. It will also detail the effect the Louisiana Purchase had on the nation.

Westward Expansion

The westward expansion was a slow process until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Colonist settled in the westward territories in small groups. The territory identified as the Louisiana was originally owned by French and was lost to Spain in 1762 during the Seven Years’ War (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007). The territory was again transferred back to France in 1801 during another war with the stipulation that France could not transfer it to anyone else without the consent of Spain.

This territory was extremely important to the United States as it held transport access via the Mississippi River and a shipping port in New Orleans. “Spain had granted United States the right to ship goods originating in American ports through the mouth of the Mississippi without paying duty and also the right of deposit, or temporary storage, of American goods at New Orleans for transshipment” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2007). American became concerned when Spain revoked America’s rights to ship the Mississippi shortly before transferring the territory back to France. This would have put and extreme economic strain on the import and export of goods from the United States especially on behalf of the southern states which counted on the Mississippi River for transportation of goods.

Napoleon Bonaparte was expecting to use his foothold in the United States in conjunction with the territory of Hispaniola as an expansion of the French Empire. He lost the island of Haiti during a slave revolt which stopped his plans to expand. Without the supplies and port of Haiti the Louisiana Territory was useless to him. He was also still involved in war with England and needed additional finances for that battle. In order to obtain additional funds for his war he made the decision to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States.

Thomas Jefferson was the President at the time and knew the implications of not having the rights to ship through the Mississippi and the port of New Orleans. Prior to Bonaparte sending his minister to the United States Jefferson had already sent Robert Livingston to offer to purchase the New Orleans at a minimum. Bonaparte not only offered New Orleans but the entire Louisiana Territory. The treat and sale to the United States was finalized in April of 1803 for approximately $15 million dollars. This is recognized as the largest land purchase in United States history. It is also a major accomplishment as it was completed without the loss of life through a war.

Spain was very upset that France made the sale leaving Florida out on its own without an ally to help defend it. Spain harassed the Americans to the point

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