The Expansion of America to the West

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As the 19th century continued, America expanded away from the east coast, across the Mississippi westward. After many western states joined the Union, hundreds of thousands of pioneers migrated to the new territories, which shifted the majority of the country’s population to the West. With so much uninhabited and unorganized land available, the desire for more land brought aspiring pioneers to the frontier. As enticing as the idea was, something else was persuading many people to migrate westward. Manifest Destiny became a widely used concept amongst future pioneers. This concept stated that God wants you to migrate westward over the entire country to expand and enhance its political, social, and economic influences. Many middle-class citizens held this belief and was the driving force in Americas expansion. In 1862, Congress passed the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act that would help aid settlers in their plight across the Plains. These acts used public lands to achieve significant national ambitions of western migration and the construction of the transcontinental railroad. In 1862, the Homestead Act was passed into law. The act stated that any American citizen could file an application and for a small amount purchase 160 acres of government land. The only stipulation was that you must inhabit the land for the next five years. The Plains provided ample amount of land for farming and livestock, but settlers found the different climate would require new
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