What Made The Americans Expand Westward

.. s of exports. “The state of New York had by a stroke achieved economic unity, and its metropolis at once became the leading city of the country”(Leuehtenburg and Wishy 49). The southern states, consisting of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The invention of the cotton gin ultimately led to the expansion of the people from the coast to go inland.

The southern states also eventually grew to be inferior to the other states, another reason for the expansion westward. The invention of the cotton-gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 made the cultivation of cotton profitable. “The opening of new land in the west after 1812 extend the area available for cotton cultivation”(Westward Expansion and Regional Differences). Now that cotton cultivation was profitable ” .. it was only a question of time when the cotton area, no longer limited to the tide water region, would extend to the interior, carrying slavery with it”(Turner 45).

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The invention of the cotton gin came at a very fitting time for the cotton industry: “Already the inventions of Arkwright, Hargreaves, and Cartwright had worked a revolution in the textile industries of England, by means of the spinning-jenny, the power-loom, and the factory system, furnishing machinery for the manufacture of cotton beyond the world’s supply”(Turner 45). This demand for cotton pushed all the owners of the cotton plantations west along with all the slaves (Westward Expansion and Regional Differences). “By 1821 the old South produced one hundred and seventeen million pounds, and five years later, one hundred and eighty million pounds (cotton)”(Turner 46). But in the next five years, recently settled southwest was overtaking the older section. “By 1834 the southwest had distanced the older section”(Turner 147).

“What had occurred was a repeated westward movement: the cotton-plant first spread from the sea-coast to the uplands, and then, by the beginning of our period, advanced to the Gulf plains, until the region achieved supremacy in its production”(Turner 47). But as much of the people moved west, the southern states began to grow inferior to the other sections. “The westward migration of its people checked the growth of the south. It had colonized the new west at the same time that the middle region had been rapidly growing in the population and the result was that the proud states of the southern seaboard was to numerical inferiority”(Turner 57). “As the movement of capital and population to the interior went on, wealth was drained from the coast”(Turner 57).

As the value of their lands declined, the people of the south coast naturally sought for an explanation and remedy to the problem (Turner 61): “Instead of applying a system of scientific farming and replenishment of the soil, there was a tendency for the planters who remained to get into debt in order to add to their possessions the farms which offered for sale by the movers. Thus there was a flow of wealth towards the west of pay for these new purchases”(Turner 61). It was because of the sudden shift of labor from farms to towns that started the westward movement up north. The herding of cattle and sheep took place of agriculture. So the owners of small farms sold their farms and moved west. In the middle region, it was a lack of transportation and market that brought along the Erie Canal.

After its completion, NY and the rest of the middle region would be connected with the rest of the interior of the country. The people began to move inland along the canal. The invention of the cotton gin at a very fitting time made people of the south push west. With textile being a booming industry, people went west to fin available land to plant cotton. So how were these moves based on economics? Why did the farmers of the north decide to move west? Was farming profitable anymore? Farming out west could be even more profitable. “When wild lands sold for two dollars an acre, and indeed, could be occupied by squatters almost without molestation, it was certain that settlers would seek them instead of paying twenty to fifty dollars and acre for farms that lay not much farther to the east-particularly when the western lands were more fertile”(Turner 73).

If they could find someone to buy their land, farmers would be happier to go west to start a bigger and better farm on more fertile soil. The middle region moved inward along with the canal. With cities like Cleveland developing inland, and with help of the canal making everything more accessible, settlers moved inward. “The struggle of Baltimore, New York City and Philadelphia for the rising commerce of the interior was potent factor in the development of the middle region”(Turner 69). With the lands being practically free in this vast area, not only did it attract the settler, but it also furnished the opportunity for all men to hew out their own careers (Turner 68).

The open land gave people a chance to start over. “The wilderness opened a gate to escape the poor, the discontented and the oppressed”(Turner 68). What was the reason behind the movement west of the South? The expansion of the south was based on the strong demand for cotton. ” .. the Industrial Revolution, which made textile manufacturing a large-scale operation, castly increased the demand for raw cotton”(Westward Expansion and Regional Differences).

Since the invention of the cotton gin made the cultivation of cotton profitable, it was only a question of finding the land to cultivate the cotton. All the people had to do was look westward. What made the people move west? Economics, land, and opportunity to profit were primary factors. With three thousand miles of free and available land, and the opportunity to start a new and better life, and make more money doing it, people packed their bags and moved in. Bibliography WORKS CITED Herb, Angela M. Beyond the Mississippi: Early Westward Expansion of the United States.

New York: Lodestar Books, 1996. Leuehtenburg, William E., and Bernard Wishy, eds Fronteir and Section. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1961. Turner, Fredrick Jackson. The Frontier in American History. New York: Holt, Tinehart, and Winston Inc., 1962 Turner, Fredrick Jackson.

Rise of the New West. New york: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1966. Turner, Fredrick Jackson. The United States 1830-1850. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1965. “Westward Expansion and Regional Differences.” An Outline of American History. Downloaded from AOL.

March 27, 1999. History Essays.


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