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America Moves Westward

At the dawn of the 19th century the United States was a new and fairly small nation along the east coast of North America. The country's territory was doubled in one stroke when Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Purchase. And later westward expansion followed the concept of "Manifest Destiny," a phrase coined by a politically active journalist.

John C. Frémont, Explored the West and Made Manifest Destiny Practical
John C. Frémont was a controversial figure who explored the West and was hailed as "The Pathfinder," though he did little original exploring of his own. He did map trails that made Manifest Destiny practical, and he wielded considerable political influence through family connections and his own dealings in California.

Guidebooks for Western Settlers
The movement westward in the 19th century was made practical by guidebooks which gave potential settlers advice and directions. These handy links make some of these vintage guidebooks accessible to read for free on the web.

Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears
Indian Removal was a controversial policy by which the U.S. government, led by President Andrew Jackson, forced Indian tribes in the South to leave their ancestral lands. The policy culminated in the notorious Trail of Tears, a forced exodus of the Cherokee tribe.

Routes to the West for American Settlers
Americans who heeded the call to head west tended to follow paths which were carefully marked, and in some cases carefully constructed. Before 1800 the mountains to the west of the Atlantic seaboard created a natural obstacle to the interior of the North American continent. And, of course, few people even knew what lands existed beyond those...

Did a Slave Revolt in Haiti Help the United States Double In Size?
Did a Slave Revolt in Haiti Help the United States Double In Size? Yes, and the story of how rebellious slaves helped bring out the Louisiana Purchase is a fascinating episode in history.

Exploration of the West in the 19th Century
Following the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a number of other expeditions ventured into the American West, exploring the vast territories that came to fascinate the American public. At the very beginning of the 19th century, few people knew way lay beyond the Mississippi River. But when reports came back of rugged landscapes, vast prairies, and...

Memories of the California Gold Rush
As the 50th anniversary of the discovery of gold in California approached, there was great interest in finding eyewitnesses to the event. An old miner named Adam Wicks was interviewed by the New York Times and related a lively account of the legendary events at Sutter's Mill.

Louisiana Purchase
When the United States and President Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Purchase, much of the territory was unknown and unmapped. This highly informative essay at the Library of Congress provides the history of Jefferson's great acquisition and makes very good use of vintage maps.

John Jacob Astor Financed a Settlement in the Remote Pacific Northwest
The Westward Expansion of the United States featured an early and little-known episode when the country's richest man, John Jacob Astor, financed a settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

America Expanded Westward in the 19th Century
Inspired by the notion of Manifest Destiny, America expanded westward in the 19th century.

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