Territorial Expansion Dbq Essay

746 words - 3 pages

During the early to mid eighteen hundreds, there was great unrest across the country over territorial expansion. Half of the nation believed that it would be beneficial to the country if we expanded, while the other half were firmly opposed to expansion. Within the century, the United States managed to claim Texas, California, and the majority of Indian-owned lands. Opinions on this expansion were mixed around the country. Polls taken during the time period show that the majority of the south and west supported expansion, while northerns were opposed to it. (Document B) This was because the northerners had different values and beliefs than the southerners of westerners. Both the opponents and supporters of territorial expansion during the time period between 1800 and 1855, had a tremendous influence on shaping federal government policy. However, it can be argued that the supporters of territorial expansion had the largest impact. They were able to sway the federal government to create policies and new laws that were in favor of supporter’s beliefs.

It was mainly the people in the north that opposed territorial expansion. This was because northerners saw how unmoral expansion could be. They also had no need for the newly acquired lands and feared that further acquisition of land would only strengthen the west; this is why opponents of expansion got so upset when the United States considered annexing Texas. William Plumer, a Federalist, said, “Admit this western world into the union, and you destroy with a single operation the whole weight and importance of the eastern states.”(Document A). People against territorial expansion realized that by annexing Texas, the western territory would grow, have a larger population, and would thereby be more influential in the government than the east.
Additionally, many opponents to territorial expansion also held strong beliefs that because the Constitution says nothing about territorial expansion, expanding and conquering foreign lands was considered to be unconstitutional. (Document A)

Supporters of territorial expansion had very different views. Supporters were mainly made up of southerners and westerners. They saw territorial expansion as an opportunity for America to become more economically stable and powerful. Expansion could have economic, religious,...

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