As people moved westward, there were economic effects on our country. As we expanded to the Mississippi River, our economy began to grow. Roads were built, river transportation improved, and railroads expanded. This allowed our businesses to grow and expand also.
After we received land in the Louisiana Purchase that was west of the Mississippi River, we sent explorers to this region. Many Americans believed the Great Plains was not a great place to settle. The government was encouraging westward expansion for many reasons. One of these reasons was that it was good for our economy.
To encourage movement to the West, the Homestead Act was passed. This law gave people 160 acres of land for free if they lived on it for five years. Most of the people who moved here were farmers. This also helped our economy grow. As people moved westward, they needed and demanded products. As transportation to the West improved, businesses began to expand to the West. Thus, the economic benefits of expansion were enhanced by the passage of the Homestead Act.