Westward Expansion Represents As Much Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Moreover, Westward expansion also meant putting off the resolution of slavery. Slavery continued in the United States until the 1860s. In fact, Westward expansion was one of the issues that gave rise to the deep rifts between north and south, between free and slave states. How to address slavery in newly acquired territories became one of the most poignant political and social issues in nineteenth century America. Yet another consequence of Westward expansion was a population explosion due not just to rising birthrates among the population but also the increased room for immigrants. The first waves of Asian immigrants arrived to work on American railroads in the new Western territories and later waves of Eastern and Southern Europeans arrived to the land of opportunity. Like the Native American populations whose land had been stolen, the non-white residents of Western territories rarely had stakes in any wealth generated by the gold rush.

As Quay points out, Westward expansion epitomizes the myth of American independence and freedom. The frontier image fosters idealizes the cowboy and makes a mockery out of the Indian. Brave men and women dealt with harsh living conditions and an even harsher journey across hundreds of miles of territory. Much of American identity and mythos is shaped by the era of Westward expansion, for better or worse. The settlements of western lands allowed for the continual birthing of new communities, which would allow residents to forge their own laws and design their own ways of life remote from centralized governments in well-established eastern settlements (Billington & Ridge). Although Westward expansion left a trail of tears in its wake, the continent is difficult to envision any other way.

Works Cited

Billington, Ray Allen & Ridge, Martin. Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier. 6th edition. University of New Mexico Press, 2001.

"Learn About Westward Expansion." Digital History. Retrieved online: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/westward/index.cfm

Quay, Sara E. Westward Expansion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Billington, Ray Allen & Ridge, Martin. Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier. 6th edition. University of New Mexico Press, 2001.

"Learn About Westward Expansion." Digital History. Retrieved online: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/westward/index.cfm

Quay, Sara E. Westward Expansion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.

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