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HIST211: Introduction to United States History - Colonial Period to Reconstruction

Unit 7: Westward Expansion   John L. O’Sullivan, editor of the influential United States Magazine and Democratic Review, gave the expansionist movement now referred to as Manifest Destiny *its name in 1845, when he wrote that it was ”the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” Manifest Destiny was an ideology of expansion stimulated by nationalism and an idealistic vision of American progress. Many believed that it was America’s providential duty to extend the blessings of liberty and equality across the continent. But, according to its 19th century proponents, Manifest Destiny was a vision reserved for white Americans alone; black slaves, Native American tribes, and other “foreigners” were displaced and exploited.

In this unit, you will consider the events and conflicts that grew out of Manifest Destiny. You will first learn about the advent of western expansion in the 1830s and 1840s, examining which native peoples lived in the present day American West and why settlers pioneered there. You will learn to distinguish between the myths and realities of the West. Next, you will study the California Gold Rush, the contested boundary between the U.S. and Britain in the Pacific Northwest, and the clash between the U.S. and Mexico over the possession of Texas, a region that was transformed from a Mexican territory to an independent republic to a slave-holding state through war and violence.*

Unit 7 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 3.5 hours.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 1.5 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - describe the influence of Spanish culture on the West; - analyze the causes of westward expansion, including Manifest Destiny and economic motives; - explain the political impact of western expansion on domestic affairs and foreign policy, including The Mexican War (1846–1848); and - analyze and interpret primary source documents from the era, using historical research methods.

7.1 The Making of the West   7.1.1 Pioneers and Travelers   - Reading: America.gov Archive’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 5: Westward Expansion and Regional Differences” Link: America.gov Archive’s Outline of U.S. History: “Chapter 5: Westward Expansion and Regional Differences” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Chapter 5 to learn about western settlement and
frontier life in the early 19<sup>th</sup> century. Be sure to study
the map on page 127. This chapter also discusses the territorial
expansion of the United States after the War of 1812 and Indian
Removal in the 1830s when the United States government forced Native
Americans to migrate westward from their homes east of the
Mississippi River to the southern plains.  

 Reading this chapter and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

7.1.2 The Idea of Manifest Destiny   - Reading: Mount Holyoke College: Vincent Ferraro’s Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy: “John L. O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839” Link: Mount Holyoke College: Vincent Ferraro’s Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy: “John L. O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839” (HTML)

 Instructions: As you read this excerpt, pay special attention to
why O’Sullivan believes that the United States was destined to be a
“Great Nation of Futurity.” This text represents a portion of
O’Sullivan’s article “The Great Nation of Futurity,” featured in
*The United States Democratic Review*, Volume 6, Issue 23, pages
426–430. Although Sullivan coined the phrase “manifest destiny” in
1845, this article demonstrates that the idea was already apparent
to him several years earlier.  

 Reading this excerpt and taking notes should take approximately 15
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

7.2 California and the Pacific Northwest   7.2.1 The U.S.-Canadian Border   - Reading: Henry J. Sage’s Sage American History: “American Foreign Relations in the Tyler Years” Link: Henry J. Sage’s Sage American History: “American Foreign Relations in the Tyler Years” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this section to learn about the conflicts that
erupted on the eastern Canadian border in the 1830s and 1840s. The
Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved the long standing border issue
with Great Britain concerning the U.S.-Canadian border.  

 Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/deed.en_US).

7.2.2 “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!”   - Web Media: University of California:UC College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – California Gold” Link: University of California College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – California Gold” (Flash)

 Instructions: Click on the link above, click the “Start Lesson”
button, and view the presentation for the fourth topic, “California
Gold.” Click on the “Text” tab and read all of the pages.  Then,
click on the links under “Explore” and read the accompanying text.  
    
 The Gold Rush was one of the most significant events in California
history.  It brought people from all over the United States and the
world to California in search of gold and helped to fuel westward
settlement.  What were some of the hardships experienced by these
speculators?  

 Watching this presentation, reading the accompanying text, and
answering the question above should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.2.3 Forty-Niners   - Web Media: University of California College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – California Gold” Link: University of California College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – California Gold” (Flash)

 Instructions: Click on the link above, click the “Start Lesson”
button, and view the presentation for the fourth topic, “California
Gold.” Click on the “Text” tab and read all of the pages. Then,
click on the links under “Explore” and read the accompanying text.  
    
 The Gold Rush was one of the most significant events in California
history. It brought people from all over the United States and the
world to California in search of gold and helped to fuel westward
settlement. What were some of the hardships experienced by these
speculators?  

 Watching this presentation, reading the accompanying text, and
answering the question above should take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.3 Texas and Mexico   7.3.1 The Republic of Texas   - Reading: Lone Star Junction: “The Texas Declaration of Independence (March 2, 1836)” Link: Lone Star Junction: “The Texas Declaration of Independence (March 2, 1836)” (HTML)

 Instructions: As you read this, pay special attention to how it
echoes the American Declaration of Independence. Texas became an
independent republic after the fall of the Alamo Mission in San
Antonio and Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto. The 1836
Declaration cemented Texas’s independence from the United States and
Mexico.  

 Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 15
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain. 

7.3.2 The Mexican War   - Reading: Henry J. Sage’s Sage American History: “Manifest Destiny and Mexico” Link: Henry J. Sage’s Sage American History: “Manifest Destiny and Mexico” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this section until you reach the subheading “The
Oregon Boundary Dispute.” These readings provide a comprehensive
overview of the annexation of Texas and the subsequent armed
conflict between the United States and Mexico, which lasted from
1846 to 1848, under the Polk Administration. Scholars have ranked
Polk favorably on the list of greatest presidents for his ability to
set an agenda and achieve all of it. Do you agree that he was a
successful president in this regard?  

 Reading these selections and answering the question above should
take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/deed.en_US).

7.3.3 The Wilmot Proviso   - Web Media: University of California: UC College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – The Mexican-American War” Link: University of California College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 32: Manifest Destiny – The Mexican-American War” (Flash)

 Instructions: Click on the link above, click the “Start Lesson”
button, and view the presentation for the third topic, “The
Mexican-American War.” Click on the “Text” tab and read all ofthe
pages. Then, click on the link “Zachary Taylor” under “Explore” and
read the accompanying text.  
    
 This resource discusses how Pennsylvania Congressman David Wilmot’s
proposal inflamed sectional tensions in the midst of the
Mexican-American War.  

 Watching this presentation and reading the accompanying text should
take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.