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The Timeline of Western Expansion - Development through Progression

  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    Under President Thomas Jefferson, the United States began its path towards what would be called in the future, "Manifest Destiny." This idea of westward expansion was founded at the time around the necessity of land for people who farmed being that "Those who labor the earth are the chosen people of God." ( Jefferson's words echoed through the land costing 15 million dollars at the time purchased from France. This land doubled the size of the nation at the time.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    The end of the Mexican American war drew to conclusion the fate of the land above the current Mexico border. Land from California to present day New Mexico and Texas became the property of the United States ( This aquisition was crutial to the present day layout of North American and paved the way for future development and expansion.
  • Gadsden Purchase

    Gadsden Purchase
    The Gadsden Purchase was an arranged attempt to diffuse the animosity taking place at the newly created US/Mexico border following the end of the war ( This treaty paying Mexico for damages from attacks and settlement of land marked the present border between the two countries. The land that was disputed was a southern third of Arizona and a small corner of present day New Mexico.
  • Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860

    Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860
    In this time period, there was a calling for a quicker means of communication. After the success of the telegraph in other regions, people looked to the west for a means of faster than "Pony" communication and messaging. The impact of this expansion was to connect the East and West coast for faster transport of news and important information. This bridged the gap between like minds and provided a more interesting business environment for the nation.
  • Begin Civil War

    Begin Civil War
    During this time period, tensions were high as far as the direction of the United States was headed. The south was in a position to continue slavery, but the separation of North and South perspectives lead to the outbreak of the Civil War. The war started after Abraham Lincoln was elected president. This election showed that the direction would not be headed in the direction of southern views. The creation of the Confederacy and their attack on Fort Sumter set the stage for our countries future.
  • Change to Steel Railways

    Change to Steel Railways
    In previous railroad construction, the use of iron rails seemed to be the preferred means of construction. It was found that the rails were too brittle, replaced often, and was no longer a cost effective option. Head of the Pennsylvania Railroad J. Edgar Thomson began to experiment with steel rails during this time period. Andrew Carnigie took the industry by storm with the use of steel and began to thrive in a depressed market. The cost of production and effectiveness lead to future railways.
  • End Civil War

    End Civil War
    The war proved successful for the efforts of the North. In a final sweep of the South, leaving their economy damaged, the North was able to succeed in their war efforts and vision for America. Using previously developed technology, this war became the deadliest war in Amercian history. However, the message of creating a better america through abolotion held true. This lead to future deleopment in the rights of all people and our ability to make or prove a point using war tactics.
  • Transcontinental Railroad

    Transcontinental Railroad
    After begining construction in 1893, the goal of the Transcontinental Railroad was to connect the east and west coasts for transport, similar to the ideology behind connecting it by telegraph. At the time, a means of transport was necessary for both goods and people for the ever expanding western movement. This expansion was used to drive down the cost and time it took to obtain goods. This was great for both businesses, consumers, and the development of the American economy.
  • Edison Illuminating Company Founded

    Edison Illuminating Company Founded
    Thomas Edison was a key person and inventor in american history. Edison held many patents, but one that we can appreicate now more than ever was his work in electric distribution. It wasn't until a few years later than he was able to provide power to a handful of residencies in New York. Further developments took place allowing the mass production and distribution of power across the nation and is now a commodity that we as a nation cannot live without.
  • Annex of Hawaii

    Annex of Hawaii
    Though a contraversial topic for those native to the territory, the Senate passed the Newlands Resolution in 1898 to acquire Hawaii after agreeing with annexitionists from the native land. Hawaii would not join the United States as a state until 1959 as the 50th state. This act was the final land acquisition contibuting the the national borders of what we know now as the United States. Hawaii has played a huge part in American History thanks to the supply of naval harbor Pearl Harbor.
  • Protection of national parks by Theodore Roosevelt

    Protection of national parks by Theodore Roosevelt
    While in office, Theodore Roosevelt had a key role in the future powers of future presidents. Roosevelt while president, developed many national parks and passed the Antiques Act in 1906 which allowed presidents to declare areas as historic landmarks, historic or prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest in federal ownership as national monuments ( His views on land conservation helped shape and sustain the beauty that was remaining in the US.
  • First Flight - Ariplane

    First Flight - Ariplane
    Wilbur and Orville Wright have a permanent spot in history thanks to their contribution of successful flight in our skies. The Wright Brothers were able to gain military support for the research and development to be able to perfect on their designs ( Thanks to this successful invention, America had a new means of transport, shipping, and even war tactics. Later developments would impact the way that business were able to transport goods, communication, and recreational travel.
  • Creation of the Model T

    Creation of the Model T
    Henry Ford made a permanent mark in history with the development of the Model T. What Ford may not have known at the time is how his invention would shape history with the invention of the affordable automobile. This invention was responsible for expanding the American Dream because people would now have a means of travel, a means to get to stores without rails, and had access to a new freedom. This creation lead to new ways to advertise to people and then drove competition for other car builds.
  • Panama Canal Complete

    Panama Canal Complete
    President Theodore Roosevelt played the upper hand in the beginning of construction of the Panama Canal in offering Panama naval support to revolt against Columbia for their independence. The grand opening took place with some failure, but nonetheless, the construction of the canal was a huge feat, and a big move for the US. It gave them control of that area by navy and made trade routes easier than going around South America.
  • Congress establishes fund for Air Mail Serivce

    Congress establishes fund for Air Mail Serivce