Early Nineteenth Century
In this essay, the writer will explain how migration to the west was affected by economic pressures in the eastern United States during the early nineteenth century. The writer will discuss those of who benefited the most from westward migration. Also, those who were burdened the most by expansion to west will be discussed.
Economic pressures occur when the flow of business is not within the desired range. During the eighteenth century, America wanted to become more independent so they would use tactics such as boycotting. While moving westward, pass the Appalachian Mountains, Americans “found themselves more and more isolated from the markets”. (Eric Foner, Give me Liberty, 327)By the 1800s farmers were making their own goods, from clothing to the equipment that they needed. With anything else that they needed that they couldn’t produce themselves, they would trade with their neighbors or go buy it from a local store. Selling produce was especially hard for those who didn’t live near waterways or cities.
In the early nineteenth century what was known as the Market Revolution occurred. Innovations in transportation such as the railroad, canal, telegraph, and steamboat, “opened new land to settlement, lowered transportation costs, and made it far easier for economic enterprises to sell their products.” (Eric Foner, Give me Liberty, 328) There was a vast number of roads were constructed, the first ever steamboat, which allowed upstream movement against a current to take place, was built. The Erie Canal, which was 363 miles long, and other small canals connecting already existing waterways, were made. Railroads were expanded to new areas, and the telegraph was invented, making communication much easier and faster. With these advancements, moving across the Appalachian Mountains became easier for Americans. After many years of migration, the Union gained six states. People would most often migrate in groups and once they got to their destination would help one and other build their barns and homes.
Expansionism to the West seemed to have only benefited Americans. The borders expanded which meant there was more land to buy, which made it easier to build homes and farms. Planters would bring their slaves across so they would have land for them to grow and pick cotton, which the planters would eventually be able to sell. Foreign countries such as Mexico, Spain, and Britain, along with Indians and slaves, were a few of the people who were burdened the most by westward expansion. For example, in places such as Florida, Americans would seize the land and claim it as their own. This is despite the fact that local Indians would try and refuse to leave and “Spain’s rejection of American offers to buy the area”. (Eric Foner, Give me Liberty, 333) During this time, several Indians who refused to be forced out by Americans were killed. Slaves also experienced the more gruesome side of a burden from westward expansion. Those who didn’t travel with their owners were forced onto boats, chained to each other, and sold by slave traders in auctions.
In conclusion, economic pressures lead to a market revolution which contributed greatly to westward expansion. By 1840, more than 7 million Americans lived on land past the Appalachian Mountains that was once the home of others. With that being said, it’s almost safe to say that Americans benefited the most from westward migration. Although Americans benefited, foreign countries, Indians that once lived on the west side of the Mountains and slaves were those who were burdened the most from expansionism to the west.