How did westward expansion impact American society between 1800-1860?I need a few specific examples which will show how the expansion imacted on American society.

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Westward expansion between 1800 and 1860 impacted American society in several ways. One impact was that it allowed American industries to grow and prosper. As Americans began to move westward, they needed products in order to live in the west. Thus, businesses moved to the west and began to make the products that the people needed.

Another impact was the growth of our transportation system. As Americans moved westward, the National Road was built and extended. The Erie Canal was built to connect the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. Our railroads expanded to the west also. The improvement in transportation also helped businesses to grow and prosper.

As a result of the westward expansion, there were many conflicts with the Native Americans. The Native Americans were forcibly relocated to lands west of the Mississippi River in the 1830s and the 1840s. When Americans expanded past the Mississippi River in the 1850s and the 1860s, more land was again taken from the Native Americans. There were many conflicts with the Native Americans.

As Americans expanded westward, Americans learned more about the geography of the United States. After the Louisiana Purchase was made, Lewis and Clark and other explorers explored the new territory that had been gained. They brought back detailed reports about the land, and new maps were created.

With westward expansion, more states entered the Union. This led to fierce debates about the spread of slavery to these new lands. This eventually became a factor leading to the Civil War.

Westward expansion impacted American society in many ways between 1800 and 1860.

drgingerbear eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The westward movement began with the Louisiana Purchase on 1803. The movement to the west during the 1800’s is also known as Manifest Destiny. From 1783 to 1815, approximately five million emigrants arrived in the United States and many of those were on quest to gain land in the west. This provided American’s with the hope to “spread” democracy around the continent.


Transportation evolved and changed as the westward expansion increased. Waterways were built, such as the Erie Canal. Goods were able to be shipped more effectively, so mercantilism became important in some areas.


In addition to new trades and transportation, borders were created to form definite boundary lines. In 1836, the republic of Texas declared freedom from Mexico, Florida was purchased from Spain and a border was created between America and Canada.


This is just the beginning of how society was affected by westward expansion. Please see the links below for more information!

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Westward expansion meant that the US acquired ever increasing amounts of land, and needed people, farmers, to settle there so it could maintained without a huge military presence.  This led to massive immigration in the second half of the 19th century, as mostly Europeans came here seeking to finally have their own land.

It also added vast resources to the United States, both in terms of potential agricultural production and things like gold, silver and timber.

It stimulated the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, and added new states to the country.

It further aggravated the divide between north and south, and accelerated the onset of the Civil War.