United States Expansionism: 1790s- 1860s


States Expansionism: 1790s- 1860s

The major American aspiration during the

1790s through the 1860s was westward expansion. Americans looked
to the western lands as an opportunity for large amounts of free land,
for growth of industry, and manifest destiny. This hunger for more wealth
and property, led Americans conquer lands that were rightfully someone
else's. Manifest destiny and westward expansion brought many problematic
issues to the Unites States verses the Indians that took the Americans
to the Civil War.

The first issue that arose for the Americans,
was where to put the existing Indians while they conquered their land.

The United States felt that the Indians needed to be secluded from all
other races so that they would become civilized. This Indian Territory
was where eastern Indian tribes such as the Kickapoos, Delawares, and Shawnees
lived. As the population of Americans increased in the western sector
of the United States, they also invaded that land specially allotted for
the Indians. Instead of moving the Americans out of the Indian Territory,
the government minimized the size of Indian Territory by half. Now
the Northern half was open for white settlement. As for the western

Indians, such as the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahos, American settlers went
around them to settle the California and Oregon. The Americans decided
to stay away from further conflict with the native Americans because they
knew they were unable to move them away from their land.

Americans continued their western movement
and put forth their domination over the Indians. The first step the United

States took in claiming this new land for them was by establishing a land
system. The Land Ordinance of 1785 established an orderly way to
divide up and sell the new lands of the Western United States. Shortly
after, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set up a system of government for
the land north of the Ohio River. Slavery was outlawed in the five
states that made up the Northwest Territory, and no self-government was
to be set up until at least five thousand free white men were in the territory.

The next step the Americans took had to
do with forcing the Indians off their land. They managed to trick
the Indians by making treaties with them. The Indians were practically
forced to agree with the treaties. Most Americans didn't even
keep their promises. For example, in the Treaty of Fort Stanwiz of

1784 and the Treaty of Fort McIntosh of 1785, the Iroquois and other Ohio

Indians were forced to give a portion of their land to the United States.

The U. S. then proceeded to divide up this land, but settlers could not
buy any of it until 1788. Many Americans became restless and decided
to go in and settle these lands illegally, not honoring their treaty with
the Indians.

These treaties were the only way the United

States was going to be allowed to legally take over the Indian lands with
the agreement of the Indians. This new recognition and use of treaties
fell under the Indian Intercourse Act of 1790. This was a form of
written documentation that allowed the ceding of land to be possible through
the treaties. Americans, however, did not honor their agreement with the

Indians, and in the future, some tribes used this against the government
in trying to regain the land that was taken from them illegally.

These treaties also led to Indian resistance
and increasing difficulties with the native peoples. As Thomas Jefferson
took over the Presidency in 1801, he was determined to civilize the Indians.

He planned to take over the land in a peaceful manner. In return, the Americans
shared with the Indians their civilized way of living. Jefferson's goal
was to educate the Indians and convert them to Christianity. He did this
in hopes that the two cultures would be able to co-exist. However, his
planned failed and continuous problems arose between the Americans and
the Indians.

The United States also managed to gain
three million acres of Delaware and Potawatomi land in Indiana through
the Treaty of Fort Wayne. Because these people had established an
alliance with the Northwest Confederation tribes, Tecumseh, the leader,
proclaimed this treaty invalid because one tribe could speak for the rest.

This belief led to great resistance, by the Indians, to further expansion
and disagreement with the U. S. government. In 1822, Tecumseh gathered

Indian warriors to attack American soldiers, led by William henry Harrison.

This attack was a failure for the Indian cause and both sides suffered
casualties. However, the Indians managed to scare the United States.

The British were on the Indian's side,
which consisted of Democratic Republicans. They resented this British