The Growth of the American Economy: An Introduction to the Economic History of the United States

By Robert G. Albion; Harold F. Williamson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Westward Expansion Before the Homestead Act

The Importance of the Westward Movement

THE MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE from the Eastern Seaboard to the Pacific Coast is of tremendous significance to the student of American economic history and provides one of the keys for an adequate understanding of why American institutions resemble and yet are different from the European institutions whence they originated. This great movement, involving millions of persons and spanning nearly three centuries of time ( 1607-1890), contains all the drama, comedy, and tragedy, that one would expect in a play so sweeping in scope and with a theme of such grandeur. But more important than this, it provides answers to some of the perplexing questions as to how and why adjustments were made, and finally, how Americans conquered the wilderness and set in motion those forces that are dominant in our economic life today.

Imagine an observer perched high above the center of the Mississippi Valley and possessed of telescopic eyes watching this scene, of such great interest and importance, unfold itself before his gaze. Against a background of green, inhabited only by the Indians, wild animals, and other denizens of the forest, a thin trickle of hunters, traders, and pioneers wend their way westward. Soon they are followed by missionaries; then a fringe of settlement appears, followed by the farmer, the introduction of capital, manufacturing and industry, banking, and the other orderly institutions of our own day and age. The scene is repeated again and again, beginning in the Tidewater area of Virginia and extending ever westward until the Mississippi is crossed, until the area of the Great Plains is traversed, and until the Pacific Coast is peopled. It is not always orderly: sometimes civil war intervenes; sometimes the red man makes a vain attempt to halt the inexorable progress of the westward march; and sometimes the marchers literally run in their search for land or gold. But the continual recurrence of the drama is one of the most American things in all American history.


Types of Frontiers

The frontier, or the area where the actual pioneering process took place, may be defined in a number of ways: as a point behind which were cities, culture, and civilization and ahead of which were forests,

-82-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Growth of the American Economy: An Introduction to the Economic History of the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 810

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.