19th Century American Expansion Essay

1350 words - 5 pages

Economic GrowthIn 1801 Thomas Jefferson became the third president of the United States. During his first term he sought to acquire full access to the Mississippi River and to expand settlement into the west. This decision not only doubled the size of the nation, 827,000 square miles, but also insured that products from the rich farming regions of the mid-west could travel down the river to New Orleans. Jefferson arranged for the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 for $15 million, a legendary real estate deal, (Wilson, 2003). During the years between 1819 and 1837 were crucial to the growth of the American economy. This was the time of the western expansion to new territories for development. With a chance to prosper from new land early settlers migrated out west.During this time, an increase in resources, new inventions, capital investments, and automation of materials brought a vivid shift in the nonagricultural economy. About 79% of Americans were connected to agriculture in 1820. However, only 55% continued in agriculture in 1850. At the same time, agriculture flourished in the south and moved to the west. The world's demand for cotton grew; 15.5 cents per pound in 1835 and 15.2 cents per pound in 1836, (connerprairie, 2007). By 1850, 80% of the world's cotton was grown in the south, (usinfo, 2005). Another factor to economic growth, in the 19th century, would have contributed by improvements of transportation of material. Between the years of 1814 and 1834, steamboats travels increased from 20 to 1200 a year. Robert Fulton's invention of the steamboat stimulated the growth of the agriculture economy by transporting agriculture and industrial supplies faster and cheaper, (Bellis, 2007). The manifestation of the large railroad system, better roads, the Erie Canal, and Ohio's canal system all affected the economy as new markets opened. Furthermore, lawyers, merchants, retailers, and manufacturers all played central roles in the larger market economy and invested in factories and railroads, (Davidson et al, 2001). Impact ImmigrationThe reason for immigration during the 19th century was clear; land was abundant and cheap. Immigrants wanted political freedom, religious tolerance and an economic opportunity. Each wave of immigrants brought America inventions, traditions, labor, ideas, and growth that stimulated the economy. The population continued to double about every 22 years. This was twice the rate of Great Britain. In 1790, there was about 4 million in population and in 1850, 23 million. A large number of immigrants from northern and western Europe swelled the growing population of the new nation between 1789 and 1850. As the technology in transportation improved, the influx of immigrants stimulated the growth of cities, (Davidson et al, 2001). Some immigrants remained on the east coast in established cities and rural areas. Others headed for the newly acquired territories and less settled areas. Catholic immigrants from Italy, Germany,...

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