The narrative of America has always been associated with Western Expansion using bounds and leaps starting from the East Coast until the Pacific. The acquisition of Alaska and Hawaii, though not included in the historical literature, signified the expansion of Americans westward maintaining the ideology of the Manifest Destiny. The Western expansion during the 19th century was aided by various factors such as purchases, treaties, and wars with the native. This essay develops the chronological events associated with the Western expansion that took place between 1860 and 1890.
According to Kinnahan (407), the 19th century in America was marked by the continuous and tremendous expansion of agriculture and industry as well as settlement throughout the continent. The country’s population more than doubled by the 1890 census. Most of the financial progress was concentrated in the plains, Midwest, and Northwest states. Particularly, the northwest became the industrial periphery of the nation controlling more than 85 percent of the United States’ processing and manufacturing of raw materials in the West and Midwest. The South thrived as an agricultural state with minimal industrial activities.
For many years prior to the Civil War, the Northern states were forced to conform to the wayward policies instituted by the South. The South held most of the Senate but as soon as their power began to dwindle, their unscrupulous laws were reformed. Some of the policies that allowed national and state development include the Homestead and the Morrill Land Grant Act. The Senate also decided to fund three continental railroads in accordance with the Transcontinental Railroad regulation. The Civil War proceeded to devastate the Southern states. Most of the fighting took place in the South destroying the essential infrastructure in the cities (Kinnahan, 410).
The confederate currency and bonds became useless depriving the South of a considerable portion of their money. The emancipation of the bonded men and women also took away the South’s human resource and capital introducing the need to formulate a new labor system. The South did not have adequate funds to facilitate the reconstruction of its states. The sharecrop framework that took the place of slavery had minimal incentives for creativity and innovation. The Southern cities thus remained financially poor and experienced slow population growth (Kinnahan, 411).
The South did not attract many individuals particularly the immigrants because of the lack of opportunities. Also, because of the low population growth, there were no incentives expand industrial growth and infrastructure. Hence, the South did not obtain rapid expansion like the former confederate states. The Southern cities continued to rely on agriculture with the exception of the establishment of the steel and iron factory in Birmingham. The Northern States controlled congress after the Civil War all through to the 20th century resulting in higher tariffs and rates that promote industrial growth and agriculture (Kinnahan, 417).
The Midwest and North cities’ population grew at a faster rate than the South. However, the states in the United States remained interconnected by the road and railway systems. Most of the economic growth in the region arose due to innovation and natural resources. The number of business patents recorded by the Patent Office increased from 1815 until 1897. America also contained large reserves of copper, iron ore, coal as well as water energy, timber, metals, petroleum, and tracts of fertile land for farming. All the required raw materials were abundant in the United States propelling industrial progress (Kinnahan, 417).
With an expanding economy came the need for more workers. Many immigrants moved to America to fill in the vacancies in the factories and other viable job opportunities. In the years between 1860 and 1890, a modern industrial economy sprouted in the United States. The country rose as one of the major economies in the globe. Its stable political structure, vast natural resources, and growth rate positioned it appropriately for continuous development. The rise of the modern economy affected the native tribes that lived in the West. The US government launched projects of industrialization and modernization that affected the native Indian communities (Reedy-Maschner and Maschner, 710).
The land policies instituted by the leaders disrupted the non-Indians and Indians. They faced irreversible environmental deterioration and the deprivation of natural resources. The natives resorted to violent reactions, protests, sharecropper rebellions, and land invasions to counteract the territorial aggression. Furthermore, the natives were dehumanized using stereotypes and disparagement to conform to the socialization patterns and the dominant culture in the United States. Slowly, the land they once owned became national land sold to the highest bidder and the native communities were assimilated into the Western culture (Reedy-Maschner and Maschner, 721).
Much of the land claimed by settlers in the Western region belonged Native American communities that had utilized it for centuries. The indigenous people were not only forced out of their land, but they also lost their traditions. Between 1868 and 1877, over 200 battles were fought between the Indians and the US Army in a bid to preserve their land. By the end of the 18th century, the American farmers were enriching themselves and feeding the planet. The ethos enacted by the European ancestry justified the motives of the US leadership to confiscate the Indian terrorist for economic development (Reedy-Maschner and Maschner, 740). True to that, the United States experienced tremendous progress at the expense of the loss of land and culture of the Native Americans. The traditional analogy of the Wild West captures the alienation of the Native Americans and the events that took place.