Westward expansion shaped the character of the United States in many different ways. Westward movement, also known as Manifest Destiny, dictated American’s course as a nation for almost 200 years. The Louisiana Purchase, Texas Independence, Oregon Trail, Mexican-American War, Civil War, and the conflicts with the Great Plains Indians were are all examples of major, formative events in U.S. history that were directly caused by our march towards the Pacific. Many historians, both past and contemporary, agree that many facets of our national character were forged on the frontier. Many Americans would agree that they are an independent and free country, both of which were characteristics first developed by western settlers in American territories.