Territorial expansion 1840–50

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Map Code: Ax00719

In 1840, the United States acquired territories in the southwest and on the Pacific coast. Around this time, there was a huge drive westwards with many Americans subscribing to a romantic belief that they would find economic prosperity in the arable lands around the Pacific coastline. There was also a religious component driving many of these pioneers, who subscribed to ‘Manifest Destiny’, believing that it was their God-given right to colonize the continent in its entirety. In the late 1840s, Mexico ceded Texas to the US after $18 million was paid for it There was still contention over its boundaries; the area of disputed territory later became New Mexico. Texas attracted a large influx of settlers, including slave owners and their slaves. This is because the southern plains were perfect for cotton production, a labour intensive crop.

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