Sept 09, 2009
Mr. Mario Bennekin
When the United States independence was recognized by the treaty of Paris in 1783, the
new country started experiencing the necessity of having more land.
Consequently, the United
States started its expansion to the west. The growth of the United States started with the purchase
of the Louisiana territories. It was purchased from France in 1803. The new country doubled its
size, giving more than “2 million sq km (800,000 sq mi) of land extending from the Mississippi
River to the Rocky Mountains” (Barry, James P.). Continuing with the “expansionist spirit”, the
United States purchased 59,268 square miles (Westward Expansion) to the Spanish government
in 1819, adding the state of Florida to the new country. After Louisiana was purchased, President
Thomas Jefferson sent some expeditionary to explore the Oregon Country, where the British
were exploring too.
In 1846, Both nations, drew a border line on the parallel 49
giving all the
territories on the south to the United States adding
the present territories of Washington,
Oregon, Idaho, and the western part of Wyoming.
The United States continued its expansion with the addition of Texas in 1845, which add
“376,133 square miles to the United States territory” (Westward Expansion). Also, the
American-Mexican war in 1846, added “545,783 square miles, including the present States of
California, Nevada, and Utah, and a large part of Arizona and New Mexico, and part of
Colorado” (Westward Expansion). Finally, in 1853, the United States bought from Mexico,
through the Gadsen Purchase, “45,535 square miles in ex-tent” (Westward Expansion).
By 1850, the “new west” had a mixture of cultures, all of them very different from each
other. Indeed, in the new western territories of the United States, more than 70 different tribes
were found (Arbeloa, Jordi).
In the Great Plains, were the conflict was going to be tougher,
important groups such as
the Cheyenne, the Sioux, Nakota, Lakota, Dhegiha, Chiwere, and many more were located.
Within these groups, different ideas, believes, and habits were exhibit.
In California, were the
gold was bringing the “civilized withes” to the “Wild West”, there were groups like the Hupa,
Miwok, Yokut, Pomo, or the Yorok. Some of these groups were influenced by the Aztecs and the
Spaniard and Mexican culture. The Oregon Country had important groups like the Kutenai,
Spokans, Nez Percés, or the Flatheads. Taking this into consideration, it can be said that Native
Americans’ cultures were totally different from each other. For example, the Great Plains tribes
were very aggressive while the Oregon country tribes were very appeased.