Westward Expansion in the Early 1800s

Timeline created by Hwohlers
In History
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  • Ohio

    Admitted as the 17th state to the Union as a non-slave state in 1803–or was it really 1953? Apparently the 7th Congress made a mistake by not ratifying the Ohio state constitution, which wasn’t discovered until 150 years later. State or not, the admission of Ohio to the Union spurred murmurs of a canal system connecting the Great Lakes, which would come to fruition through the rest of the 19th century.
  • Louisiana Purchase

    Louisiana Purchase
    The United States purchased the French owned Louisiana territory in 1803 for $15 million. It was a compromise clearly in favor of the U.S., but the French were desperate for money dealing with their Revolution and skirmishes with neighboring countries. Besides, the French weren’t out too much considering that most of the land was ‘just prairie and mountains’ (ha), and New Orleans and the surrounding area wasn’t really theirs to sell.
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  • Louisiana

    The first domino to fall in the succession of states to be admitted across the west side of the Mississippi River. Even though the request for admission was presented to Congress in 1810, the decision was so controversial and heated that Louisiana didn’t become a state until two years later.
  • Indiana

    Admitted as the 19th state of the Union and a free state. 2nd of the northwest territory ceded after the American Revolution to earn statehood.
  • Mississippi

    The 20th state was admitted to the Union as a slave state. Was once apart of a large territory known as the Mississippi Territory but was divided into what it is now in the present day and Alabama.
  • Illinois

    Admitted to the Union as a non-slave state, the 21st state took awhile to be entirely settled as farmers slowly discovered the rich potential of the prairie soil. Chicago did not become the main hub of the Midwest until later on due to low population numbers in northern Illinois.
  • Alabama

    The other half of what had once been the Mississippi Territory was finally admitted to the Union as the 22nd state and a slave state two years after its former partner Mississippi was.
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  • Missouri Compromise of 1820

    Missouri Compromise of 1820
    The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was a two-part patchwork job at attempting to create a middle ground for both parties on the issue of slavery. The legislation first provided the opportunity for Maine and Missouri to be admitted to the Union, keeping the balance of slave and free states. The second part dealt with the future determination of free or slave states—any new states admitted above the 36* 30’ line would be free, and new states below would allow slavery.
  • Maine

    Being the 23rd state to enter the Union was a move prompted by ex-Massachusettians who thought that MS control of the area wasn’t adequate enough for the growing northern population. But, in order to be admitted, Congress had to first agree on the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which mandated that a balance of non-slave and slave states was needed in the Union to keep a tentative peace between the two sides.
  • Missouri

    The 24th state was admitted as a slave state, acting as the peanut butter to the jelly of Maine in order to keep things in accordance with the Missouri Compromise.
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  • Arkansas

    What used to be considered land of displaced Native Americans became the 25th state, which was admitted as a slave state to the Union. The Natives had since been moved to the new Indian Territory, which is now present-day Oklahoma.
  • Michigan

    The 26th state—Upper Peninsula and all—was admitted as a free state after a lengthy dispute with Ohio over the Toledo Strip. Michigan was given the incentive of owning the rest of the Upper Peninsula if it gave Toledo to Ohio, which turned out to have been the best outcome for MI due to the profits gained from the mineral deposits later found on the U.P.
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  • Florida

    After much conflict with the Seminole natives in Florida, the U.S. was able to control the situation enough to admit the territory as the 27th state of the Union, and a slave one at that. The state would continue to conflict with the Native Americans there, seen during the Third Seminole War of the 1850s.
  • Texas

    The 28th state, Texas spent several years as an independent nation before being accepted into the U.S. The region originally rebelled against Mexico due to the high number of American settlers in the region and the loose grip the Mexican government had on the area. After years of stalling by northern politicians, Texas was admitted as a slave state into the Union.
  • Iowa

    The 29th state to be added to the Union was a complicated mash of displaced Native American tribes, American settlers, and frontiersmen taking advantage of new land to settle and cultivate. (Free state).
  • Wisconsin

    Though having been settled for quite some time, Wisconsin wasn’t admitted to the U.S. until 1848 when voters decided they were envious of the democratic benefits neighboring states like Michigan and Iowa enjoyed. Before this, the voters had voted against statehood due to fearing high taxes and such from the federal government. Wisconsin was admitted as the 30th state of the Union and free.
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  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    The agreement between the free-soil party and the pro-slavery party boils down to five main points:
    1. Utah and New Mexico were drawn up out of the newly ceded territory from Mexico.
    2. California was admitted to the Union as a free state.
    3. Popular sovereignty would be instituted in new territories to decide free or slave state standing.
    4. The northwestern border of Texas was receded.
    5. The Fugitive Slave Act tightened restrictions on how northerners dealt with fugitive slaves.
  • California

    The 31st state probably holds the record for the shortest time taken to settle and become a state. The U.S. didn’t even bother with territory status for California and instead, after much debate, admitted CA to the Union as a free state as part of the Compromise of 1850, which also dealt with the division of Utah and New Mexico, shortening the western boundary of Texas, and the institution of popular sovereignty in new territories/states admitted to the Union (like Utah and New Mexico).
  • Minnesota

    The North Star State was the 32nd state to be admitted to the Union (as a free state), and later proved to be an eager helper in the Civil War by being the first to send troops to aid the Union forces, all while dealing with the beginnings of a Sioux war that unraveled later in 1862.
  • Oregon

    After the line between the British and American Oregon Territories was drawn in 1846, Oregon later became a state 13 years later as the 33rd state to be admitted to the Union. The Oregon Trail is a major part of the state’s history, and settlers continued to move west on the trail or later via train to settle in Oregon or the surrounding regions.
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  • Kansas

    “Bleeding Kansas” is credited as being one of the main factors in starting the Civil War. After Kansas and Nebraska were divided into their respective territories, Kansas had the legal right to vote on whether or not to allow slaves. The following outside corruption and squabbling lead to massive fighting between Kansas and Missouri residents. Eventually the anti-slave faction won out, established the territory as free, and later became the 34th state to be admitted to the Union.