American Land Politics in 19th Century

In 1803, chairman Thomas Jefferson bought this area of Louisiana from the French authorities for $ 15 million. This Louisiana acquisition extended from this River stream in the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to New York City. In Jefferson, westward expansion was the explanation to this country’s well-being: He thought the democracy depended on the individual, moral people its life. The nation’s westward expansion in the 1800s was aided in no small part by its vast network of rivers and lakes.

When President Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana territory from the French government, it doubled the size of the existing United States. Jefferson believed that, for the republic to survive, westward expansion was necessary to create independent, virtuous citizens as owners of small farms. He wrote that those who labor the earth are God’s chosen people and greatly encouraged westward expansion.

The Westward expansion of American agriculture was founded on military conquest and the displacement of Native Americans. The Mexican War of 1846-48 also involved westward expansion, this time at the expense of Mexicans as well as Indians of The Cherokee Nation.

At the time Andrew Jackson was president, there was a fast-growing population and a desire for more land. Because of this, expansion was inevitable. To the west, many native Indian tribes were settled.

Andrew Jackson spent a good deal of his presidency, dealing with the removal of the Indians in western land. Throughout the 1850s, American attention was riveted on westward expansion. But no discussion of expansion, or any aspect of the nation’s future, could get beyond the issue of slavery. In 1858, Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln held a series of seven debates while competing for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Thousands of Americans attended the Lincoln-Douglas debates and listened raptly as the two candidates presented opposing views of slavery and its roll-on America.

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