The Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803,which doubled the size of the country. By 1840 about 7 million Americans had migrated to westward in hopes of securing land and being successful.
The Louisiana Purchase cost the U.S about 15 million dollars. It included the land that is west of the Mississippi. During this time, Native Americans were moved from their lands because of the westward expansion, and were forced onto reserves.The Homestead Act was created to provide free land to many people who wanted to move westward. The Homestead Act became a law in 1862. Abraham Lincoln signed it into law.
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The act provided at least 160 acres of unoccupied land to settlers if they improved the land and lived there for about five years. Land rushes, similar to races, often took place when land was opened for settlement. People would race off to stake their land claim, sometimes up to 50,000 people at a time. IN order to provide enough land to sustain this idea of population of virtuous yeomen, the United States would have to continue to expand.
The westward expansion of the United States is one of the defining themes of the 19th-century American history, but it isn’t just the story of Jefferson’s expanding ”empire of liberty.” On the contrary, as one historian writes, in the six decades after the Louisiana Purchase, the westward expansion “very nearly destroyed the republic.” Meanwhile, the question of whether or not slavery would be allowed in the new western states was in every conversation about the frontier.
In 1820, the Missouri Compromise had tried to resolve this question: It had admitted Missouri to the union as a slave state and Maine as a free state, saving the fragile balance in Congress. More important, it had stipulated that in the future, slavery would be prohibited north of the southern boundary of Missouri in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase.River crossings were a constant source of distress for the pioneers. Hundreds drowned trying to cross the Kansas, North Platte and Columbia Rivers, and others. In 1850 alone, 37 people drowned trying to cross one particularly difficult river, The Green. Those who didn’t drown were usually lightly dressed.
The charge of a ferry ranged up to almost 16 dollars, almost the price of one oxen. One ferry earned over $65,000 in only one summer. The immigrants would complain angrily Most immigrants would overload their wagons, which would leave them nowhere to sit in the wagon, therefore they would have to travel on foot. Many made the entire trip of 2,000 miles on foot.The immigrants wagons didn’t have safety. If someone fell under the large wheels, death was instant.
So many lost their lives from this. Most of the time, the deaths were kids.Great thunderstorms took on the Trail was a mysterious and deadly disease, called cholera for which there is no cure.
Often, an emigrant would go from healthy to dead in a just few hours. Sometimes they were properly buried other times they were left on the trails. The ones that were left on the trails were found by animals and the remains of the corpse were eaten and the bones were scattered across the field.