Westward Extension, 1841-1850

By George Pierce Garrison | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II (1800-1841)
THE FIELD FOR EXPANSION

AT the opening of the period covered by this volume there was still a large unsettled area within the acknowledged limits of the United States, especially towards the west and northwest. Only in the extreme southwest, and from Lake Erie eastward in the north, did the frontier press upon the political boundary. In the northeast there was an extensive district, comprising substantially that part of the upper valley of the St. John River west of a line drawn north from the source of the St. Croix, in dispute between Great Britain and the United States, and the dispute demanded settlement. This, however, was not because the adjacent population on either side was pressing towards the disputed section, but rather because the border friction of two aggressive nationalities, together with other causes of difference between them, threatened to bring about a war.

The open field was towards the west, and in that direction was the migratory impulse. The westward movement of population had already gone

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