Open an empty wilderness.And in less than fifty

Open land, additional benefits and other existing problems encouraged Americans to expand westward.

The American people began to realize that the future of the country lay in the development of its own western resources (Nash 533; 1).There were many reasons that made the people face the grueling and dangerous movement west, but the Regardless of the fact that thousands of Indian nations with rich and distinct cultures had populated the land for thousands of years, Americans considered the west to be an empty wilderness.And in less than fifty years, from the 1803 purchase of Louisiana Territory to the California gold rush of 1849, the nation would expand and conquer the West. The great migration began in 1841 and was stimulated by the depression of 1837 with people with some capital hoping to make a fresh start (Nash 534; 2). By 1845, there were 6,000 Americans in Oregon, and the United States government tried to make the 49th parallel as the boundary without success. The fur trade had since declined in this area so the British agreed to the 49th parallel as the boundary in a treaty in 1846 and thus, American sovereignty was established over the area covered by Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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The new acquisitions meant that problems like transportation had to be tackled. A canal across Panama was planned but this didn't materialize for many years. The building of a transcontinental railroad with the financial assistance of the government was debated upon. Also the question of slavery in the newly acquired territories was a more troubling issue and this decided the fate of the United States for the next few years.It was because of the sudden shift of labor from farms to towns that started the westward movement up north.The herding of cattle and sheep took place of agriculture (Nash 538; ..


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