Territorial Expansion and Sectional Conflict

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Published on 14 Feb 2011
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UTSG
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History
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HIS271Y1
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HIS271YTerritorial Expansion and Sectional ConflictNovember 10th 2010
On top of industrialization and urbanization, immigration, expansion, and slavery
are also adding to sectional conflict
Immigration
1790-1840 the population in the US tripled, and would continue to double in every 25
years
On the eve of the civil war, there were 33 states
Cities were also skyrocketing
In 1790, there were only 2 cities with populations over 20,000, but by the 1840s, over
40 cities could boast those numbers
This increase comes as a result of massive immigration
The first wave of immigration begins in the early 19th century, roughly around the
time of the War of 1812 and continues until it peaks in the 1830s/40s
This immigrant population consisted largely of immigrants from England, Ireland,
and Germany
They were coming in such large numbers because:
Push factors: political/religious strife, poverty, population growth,
agricultural depression
Pull factors: promise of a better life, the American Dream
American fever
Industrialists deliberately encouraged immigration by offering incentives to workers
Immigrants, because they provided cheap labour, were key to the growth of some of
Americas key industries
Railroad lines also worked to encourage immigration
The railroad companies were granted large tracts of land along their railroads and
thus wanted people to live and work the lands
States also worked to encourage immigration
Even shipping lines advertised
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HIS271YTerritorial Expansion and Sectional ConflictNovember 10th 2010
Families would send money back home to finance family members immigrating
Enthusiasm to conform to American culture
Civic nationalism: an identity based on a shared set of values rather than an
identity based on a shared background and race
However, life in the US could be very difficult for immigrants
This could begin as soon as they began their journey, the ships conditions were long
and gruelling, diseases
Arrival could also be hard: some states tried to pass legislation to regulate the
intake of new immigrants, head taxes, state laws were aimed to both protect
immigrants and protect Americans
The chief fears at the time were that the massive flux of immigrants would be a
financial strain on the states and also the fear of the spread of disease
Ultimately, we see in this that many contemporaries were weary of the impact of
such an influx of the population
Of particular concern was that these new individuals would engulf the native
American culture, disrupting their institutions and values
One of the chief concerns was pauperism, that the immigrants would be a strain on
the states and jobs, that they would work for less and thus drive wages down
More significant was what some saw was the growing political power of these new
immigrants, particularly in the Democrat party, especially in New York/Jersey
Religion also played a role in this: majority of Irish settlers were Catholic
Anti-Catholicism was particularly rampant at this time in the States
Notion that the Irish were not willing to integrate, Irish Catholic schools
Stereotyped as ignorant, lazy, undisciplined, and unsuited to freedom
Nativism wasnt just about racism, however
It demonstrated the degree to which immigration separated American politics
Introduction of new parties whose entire goal was to undermine the new immigrants
The know-Nothing Party
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HIS271YTerritorial Expansion and Sectional ConflictNovember 10th 2010
Wanted to prohibit Catholics from entering office
Establish literacy tests for voting
The order was exclusive and private
The impact of both immigration and nativism was far-reaching, becoming another
sectional issue in this period
Taken alone, the issue of immigration wouldnt have divided the nation, but it wasnt
the only thing happening
If at its heart the nativist cause was the fear that immigrants would undermine
American values and institutions, we can see that other things were threatening as
well
Expansion
Taking control of the west had been a pivotal part of political platforms since at least
the time of Jefferson
In the 19th century, Jackson also takes on this quest for more land
During the 1840s, the US continued on this path, acquiring more than 1 million
square miles of territory
As with everything else in this period, the movement west took on new significance
1845 that Manifest Destiny was coined
Idea that the West would be a staging ground where Americans could always
recreate that sense of struggle and individualism from the colonial period
Settlement of the west was envisioned as part of a larger process of self-definition
Many Americans were taken with the idea of going west, especially to Oregon,
California, Utah, New Mexico, and even Texas
In 1818, Great Britain and the US signed a treaty agreeing to joint occupation of the
Oregon territory
By 1840, it was clear that the majority of the people there were Americans
In 1843, first of the great migrations to Oregon
Generally families
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Document Summary

 on top of industrialization and urbanization, immigration, expansion, and slavery are also adding to sectional conflict. 1790-1840 the population in the us t ripled, and would continue to double in every 25 years.  on the eve of the civil war, there were 33 states. In 1790, there were only 2 cities with populations over 20,000, but by the 1840s, over. This increase comes as a result of massive immigration. The first wave of immigration begins in the early 19th century, roughly around the time of the war of 1812 and continues until it peaks in the 1830s/40s. This immigrant population consisted largely of immigrants from england, i reland, and germany. They were coming in such large numbers because:  push factors: agricultural depression political/religious strife, poverty, population growth,  pull factors: promise of a better life, the american dream". Industrialists deliberately encouraged immigration by offering incentives to workers.