Westward expansion profoundly changed American society. As the nation grew, more people looked west in order to obtain cheaper land. Once there, they developed communities with stores and professional positions, such as blacksmiths and lawyers. Between 1820 and 1860, many of these Western towns were some of the fastest growing places in the United States. These people in the West also aspired to own manufactured goods, and the United States was beginning to get into the Industrial Revolution after the Revolutionary War.
Before the war and immediately thereafter, American manufacturing was considered secondary to British work. After the war, Americans looked to develop their own manufacturing as a way to grow industries at home and also as a source of national pride. More people would work in American factories in the period leading up to the Civil War and after the war this number would increase significantly with more European immigration.
Most of the factory jobs were in the North, but in order to facilitate transportation of raw materials and finished products, the US government undertook a program of internal improvements called the American System which improved railroads and canals in most of the United States. This benefited the West as it made transportation of goods and people easier; it also benefited Americans as a whole, as American manufacturing increased and new jobs were being created.