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Manifest Destiny was a principle used by American settlers to justify their movement and expansion westward. The settlers believed it was their responsibility to spread civilization to the West. They had ideas of what was required to develop the area but first they had to create space for their settlement. They dispersed the Indians in the West through armed conflict and the spread of new diseases. Under the guidance of Manifest Destiny the American settlers began the development of American institutions. They also introduced large scale agriculture to the region. Through food production the West was able to boost its population, industry, technology and trade leading to growth of the West. The settlers continued expansion from their arrival on the East Coast until they arrived in the Pacific. They developed the railroad to facilitate transport in the vast lands and provided access to the interior. Their sense of duty made it possible for most of the communities in the West to eventually come together for the mutual benefit of the region.
Westward movement or growth of the United States occurred as Native Americans were displaced. Because of the constant fear of attack, people were hesitant to move to the west. At first, westward growth reached the Mississippi River. As many native tribes were forcibly removed, most notably when Andrew Jackson was President, people began to clear the land and establish farms. Of course, as people moved west, they needed various products. Therefore, industry followed, which led to more growth. Later, westward expansion meant moving west of the Mississippi River which meant the Native Americans again had to be relocated. This time, they were placed on reservations. Relocating the Native Americans west of the Mississippi River opened more land to farming. It also allowed cattle ranches to expand to this area. People also moved west to mine minerals. As transportation improved, more people were able to move westward. Since the Native Americans were on reservations, people could move westward with less fear of conflict with the Native Americans. Industry grew even more as the population expanded westward. Relocating the Native Americans was one of the factors in the growth of the west.
Displacement of the Native Americans is a very touchy subject. European settlers came into a country occupied by Native Americans expecting just to take over the land. The expansion west was helped by displacing Native Americans by opening up more land to explore, build upon and live upon. As our nation grew so did our need for land to support these people. The only way to do this was to displace the Native Americans, even though it was not fair to them, but they still have reservations that they can occupy. If we had not displaced Native Americans our nation would not have had the opportunity to expand and to grow to what it has now become. We have grown into a wonderfully diverse nation that has learned to work together.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 paved the way from Westward expansion. Andrew Jackson signed the act as a means to open up the lands west of the Mississippi in exchange for land already in the states. However, migrants who wanted the lands already settled by displaced Native Americans would eventually use this again. The reservation system/ Indian Appropriations Act was enacted to corner Native Americans on set plots of land thus allowing settlers to obtain freed Native land for their own without fear of reprisal. With Native American tribes placed on set boundaries allowed a faster influx of settlers into the Midwest.
The conquest of the North American continent began with disease rather than by force. Estimation of Native deaths due to disease alone remains disputed today, but the figure could to be as high as ninety percent of the entire Native population. Even without forced entry onto Native American lands, this devastation from disease aided in opening up lands throughout the North American continent.
The Natives were forced to accommodate this invasion into the heart of their native homelands in the West. White settlers often acquired lands through unfair claims and at times forced Natives to agree to their terms. The threat to tribes no longer lay solely in factional and tribal disputes, but now included a common enemy in the white settlers and their westward expansion.
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