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Explain why the USA was able to acquire so much land in the west between 1803 and 1854

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Introduction

1. Explain why the USA was able to acquire so much land in the west between 1803 and 1854 The first great expansion of the US occurred 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson supported the purchase of the Louisiana territory for $15 million effectively doubling US territory overnight. This purchase was a significant moment in US history and started U.S expansionism into the West. The United States managed to expand effectively for a variety of reasons, the first being the fact that former colonial powers in America were forced to redeploy troops as their empires around the world began to collapse. This was the case with Florida, which had been a Spanish Colony, when conflicts arose between Spain and America after the civil war (Spain had been allied with Britain). The US General Andrew Jackson invaded Florida pursuing Spanish and Native American bandits .Attacking he also attacked Spanish posts, Spain could do little to resist, so gave up Florida 1819 , and abandoned claims to Oregon territory. ...read more.

Middle

This marked the final achievement of the Manifest Destiny and a republic that stretched from coast to coast. The final piece in the Jigsaw was inserted when in 1853, James Gadsden, railroad magnate purchased land to the south of New Mexico for $15 million in order to build the first transcontinental railroad. 2. Explain the changes in transport that allowed Americans to move West after 1803 Originally, the West only attracted daring mountain men, fur trappers, and explorers due to poor communication and transport and security, this had to change if the West was to evolve and become populated. Trails such as that to Oregon saw forts gather around its course as protection from Indian tribes. In 1811, the federal government began construction of the Cumberland road, a highway which by its completion in 1852 stretched 600 miles from Maryland to Illinois, this was a major step for Western migration as this new highway meant that Mid-West settling was made relatively easy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The vast expense of construction meant that only one line could be contemplated initially. On 1 July 1862, the First Pacific Railroad Act chartered two companies to build the Central Pacific Railroad, eastwards from Sacramento, and the Union Pacific Railroad westward from Omaha. The incentives to the companies were very large land grants, giving the companies a 400-feet right of way and alternate sections of land for every completed mile of track. Thus giving an incentive to build as much track as they could. Nevertheless, even then investment was slow and construction only began in 1984 when the land grant was doubled and government money loaned to investors. After many obstacles by the end of the century, there were four more transcontinental lines: the North Pacific, Southern Pacific, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and the Great Northern. The Major lines spawned a network sprawling 87,000 miles across the West by 1900. The West was now easily accessible for prospective settlers and the United States ready to emerge as an affluent nation. Robert Barrie ...read more.

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