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History of the United States to 1865

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What were the major factors contributing to US territorial expansion in the 1840s?

The major factors that contributed to the US territorial expansion in the 1840’s was the Manifest Destiny and that it was God’s wish that they expand to the Pacific Ocean. A painting by John Gast depicts westward movement which lead to American Progress with an angel and the possibilities that may lay ahead due to the movement west.

The opening of the Santa Fe Trail through Missouri had an influence which allowed people to flourish in that direction. As more and more people came to new frontiers, it became more attractive as California had less ties to the Catholic church and people moved for that reason. Texas also became one of the gates that opened for expansion when a land grant was given to Moses Austin to resell land at 12 cents per acre. Finally, the possibility of striking it rich brought people to California as gold was found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With Native Americans still living in the area it brought more suffrage to the people for the US expansion. Moving also meant opportunity for trade as a proposal by Asa Whitney was submitted to create the transcontinental railroad which allowed eastern businesses to partake in the financial gain of moving out west. In doing so, Matthew Perry negotiated a treaty with Japan and China which allowed trade with both countries which improved our export and import relations and opened the west to the east.

It seems there were many factors that contributed and when the flood gates opened the west was made available and the American dream was again able to be obtained rather than being only on the east. It gave people hope and the freedom they wanted because they could own land, and practice many of the freedoms they wanted by moving to a new part of the country.

Give Me Liberty

How did women broaden American notions of freedom before the Civil War?

Before the Civil War women broadened American notions of freedom as they started to question the freedoms they had while addressing the suffrage of slavery. They saw that not only should they fight for the freedom of slaves but to free themselves from the bondage of the idea of being the domesticated, delicate flower that most men preferred them to be. Since there was not a place for the women to vote or participate in politics they vented to the public and made their voices heard.

There were several women who had used this avenue to vent their frustrations. They discussed many unfair stances that encompassed equal pay, right to vote, individual choice, and personal growth.

They wanted all the things that they saw their opposite sex possess and demanded the same treatment. This want opened a lot of doors to the notion that men should not possess power over women due to gender.

When a couple of women traveled to be a part of the Seneca Falls Convention, they were denied due to them being women, this was the start of the suffrage of women. Both the Declaration of Sentiment and the law of domestic relations had a strong inequality for women as the men had more rights and in a sense were valued more in the household decisions and interventions. That another idea came into light that women were delicate to work away from home and that’s where she was to be instead of outside that bubble.

A lot of the ideas of what a woman should be or how she should conduct herself, including her limitations were set by their male counterparts and it was the main way of thinking before the Civil War. They asked the questions and made some uncomfortable arguments to fight for a freedom that they thought to be God given just as men had justified as their own. They voiced their demands and did not let go of their arguments.

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