MOVING SOUTHWARD AND WESTWARD America’s Growth to the South and West In the 19th century, the United States was growing and expanding its territory. Population was increasing, and many people went looking for other places to settle and own land outside of the established states. Manifest Destiny was the idea that the United States was destined to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This motivated the government to acquire lands in the Oregon Territory as well as in areas that became Texas, Florida, and California. Many people started to move west in hope of a better life. The California Gold Rush triggered a large movement of people to California. Regardless of their success in this venture, communities of people began to spring up all over the western part of the United States. During the American quest for expansion, America went to war with Mexico over land in the west. The United States eventually acquired the territories in dispute, but not before a great deal of fighting and a large number of casualties on both sides. Slavery also became an issue during the movement westward. Whether or not to give the new states the right to slavery was a debate held in the northern and southern states and was one cause of the Civil War, decades later. © Copyright NewPath Learning. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted for the purchaser to print copies for non-commercial educational purposes only. Visit us at www.NewPathLearning.com.