The Causes Of Westward Expansion

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Westward expansion, although simply a pact to move westward caused conflict and anger to Northern and Southerners. This tension rose due to the fugitive slave act, and the Kansas-Nebraska act. In 1845 the phrase manifest destiny was coined. Many Americans assumed it was their God-given-right to spread westward, bringing American culture with them (285). This phrase empowered Americans to move west, however, conflict arose in the conquest of lands such as the annexation of Texas which led to the Mexican-American War, acquiring California and New Mexico. These newly acquired lands led to pressing questions if they would be free or slave states which was a precursor to the climactic fugitive slave act. In 1850 President Taylor enacted the 1850 Compromise. Taylor agreed for California to become a free state under the Union, for New Mexico and Utah to decide if they were free or slave states through popular sovereignty, and the slave trade to be abolished in the District of Columbia (310). However, the fourth and most controversial portion of the 1850 Compromise was the Fugitive Slave Act. This stated that it was Americans moral duty to return escaped slaves to their masters, there was a $10 reward for individuals who returned a fugitive slave, so the number of kidnappers increased leading to escaped slaves to be returned to their masters (310). This caused anger to accumulate among Northerners, Nash states, “In a few dramatic episodes, notably in Boston, literary and

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