DBQ ESSAY

Americans
have always had the potential for expanding. Purchases, for example, the
Louisiana Purchase expanded the country into the Midwest. (Doc 1) Manifest
Destiny is the belief that the United States is destined to expand across the
continent. After purchases and the Mexican War, Congress needed to make
decisions regarding certain states. Although expansionism helped with national
unity, it also made an unbalance between free and slave states which created
extreme sectionalism between the North and South. (Doc 7)

      The promise of new territory was the goal
for most Americans. Mexico had control over the southwest. To increase their
economy, they invited Americans to settle in their territory. Texan rebels
fought for their independence. Independence was eventually granted and America
saw that Texas was an opportunity they could not pass up. Senator Geroge
McDuffie said, “ If we shall annex Texas, it will operate as a safety-valve to
let off the super abundant slave population.” (Doc 4) Based on McDuffie’s
words, the U.S. needs Texas in order to help spread out the slave population. The
government of Mexico issued an attack on the Americans and the Mexican War had
begun. With this, Congress started debating on whether or not they should stay
in the war. Charles Sumner, a senator from Massachusetts, did not believe that
the U.S. should stay in war with Mexico. He believed that the U.S. is a much stronger
nation than Mexico physically and politically. He felt as if it was unfair to
fight them in a war just to win territory that will become all slave territory.
(Doc 6) Unfortunately, this caused some unrest within the country, but the
fight for territory was still the main focus. In the end, California was
conquered. (Doc 1) California became a diverse and populated state with many
even leaving everything they had to move out west.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

      The United States had many decisions to
make over these new territories. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created a
balance between free states and slave states. Missouri became a slave state and
Maine was introduced as a free state. Slavery north of the 36’30 line was not
allowed. Many anti-slavery congressmen proposed that the new territories would
be free states. Finally, in 1850, Henry Clay proposed a bill that both the
North and South agreed on. The Compromise of 1850 consisted of many factors
involving slavery. California would enter the Union as a free state. In
addition, the Fugitive Slave Act was created. This placed the authority of the
federal government behind capturing and returning fugitive slaves. Last, the
slave trade was outlawed in the District of Columbia. Although the North and
South typically got what they wanted out of the compromise, the entire idea of
slavery still affected increased the feelings of sectionalism.

            While
the idea of Manifest Destiny was intended to only benefit the country, there
were many issues that came along with it. To many like John L. O’ Sullivan, the
goal was “to spead manifest destiny over the continent.” (Doc 2) Based by the
information stated above, it is evident that the effect of expansionism on national
unity was negative.