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What Was The Age of Expansion (Thoreau Journals)

Updated on March 10, 2015

Age of Expansion (Territory expansion)

Conquering the Frontier

As a result of the Mexican War, the United States gained the Mexican Cession.
As a result of the Mexican War, the United States gained the Mexican Cession.

Opinions in History on the Age of Expansion

This was a paper that I had to do once for my history class, but it provides an overview of key events that were taking place during the Age of Expansion in time period (1820's-1860s)

An Age of Expansion

John L. O’Sullivan “The Great Nation of Futurity:

According to O’Sullivan, what characteristics of the American nation determine its future? How did O’Sullivan contrast the United States to other nations?

  1. O’Sullivan thought that America’s future was determined by its “clear conscience unsullied by the past” which means that the nation has never tried to oppress its people and has been a firm believer in equality. He also believed that the nations belief in equality, determined the nation’s future need to expand it upon the world, to rid it of “the tyranny of kings, hierarchs and oligarchs”, and be a model example for other nations. O’Sullivan saw America as “unparalleled” because the nation had no sad memories of war, battlefields, or holocausts (“horrid carnage”) and “wicked ambitions to depopulate the land”. He furthermore stated that our Declaration of Independence sets us apart because it was based on equality; and our new untried form of government.

Thomas Corwin against the Mexican War (Age of Expansion)

Why does Corwin consider proceeding with the Mexican War to be “treason to the Union”? Is his argument convincing?

  1. Corwin believes that because the Mexican War will bring about the question of whether slavery will be allowed in the new territory or not, it will break apart the Union. The North will say “No!” so slavery, and the South will say “Yes!” and neither will yield, and then the internal conflict would break out over the heated issue of slavery. His argument is convincing because the North and South do strongly believe that they are the ones who are right, and they will not yield in their opinion. The slavery issue has already been around and causing conflicts for more than 20 years, and eventually WILL lead to Civil War, therefore, his argument is believable.

Henry David Thoreau from “Civil Disobedience”

What price does Thoreau argue one pays for obeying laws you know to be unjust? Do you agree with Thoreau?

  1. Thoreau says people who obey unjust laws are ignorant. Some obey because they recognize that we need a government even if it is not perfect. Others profit from war and slavery so they obey. Others fear for their families and children. People who obey such unjust laws lose their manhood and immortality and “he bleeds to an everlasting death.” I do not agree with Thoreau. Some individuals do not have a conscience whether or not they are obeying an unjust law or not. Some do not care. Either way they do not bleed to death. They simply carry on with their lives, and maybe it hits them later on that the law they conform to is bad, and then they may choose or may choose not to do something about it.

Elizabeth Dixon Smith Greer, Journal

What do Greer’s journal entries suggest about the sexual division of labor or the flexibility of gender roles on the trail?

  1. During the Age of Expansion Greer’s journal entries suggest that the sexual division of labor, while on the trail and in Oregon, was dropped, women were needed to do a lot of work because the journey was harsh, and so was the stay in Oregon, and everybody needed all the help they could get. Greer would carry her children, cook for her whole family, take care of her sick husband, and find a house. During this journey the flexibility of gender roles…developed into a very flexible role.

Chief Seattle, Oration

In Chief Seattle’s terms, what were the major differences between Native American and white societies?

  1. One difference he states is the populations of the two societies, the white have many; the Native American’s have few. In addition, he says that his people are no longer in need of extensive territory, as opposed to the whites. Also, he states that the god of the white society (in Washington) loves his people, and hates the Native Americans. Furthermore, he contrasts their religions, the white man’s was written down on stone, but their religion was adopted, by their ancestors and their traditions. He also contrasts the belief in an “afterlife” and says his people believe in one, as opposed to the white society.

Louisiana Purchase

The purchase of this land from the French by Thomas Jefferson DOUBLED the size of the United States, overnight!
The purchase of this land from the French by Thomas Jefferson DOUBLED the size of the United States, overnight!

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  • Felixedet2000 profile image


    8 years ago from The Universe

    very good, thanks for the information.

  • katiem2 profile image

    Katie McMurray 

    9 years ago from Westerville

    Great Hub, Gotta love American History I sometimes wonder what it would be like during an exciting time like this and to live and witness all this stuff and have our Declaration of Independence put to such purpose. Also how cool to know the TRUTH! Interesting Hub. Thanks and Peace :)

  • christopheranton profile image

    Christopher Antony Meade 

    9 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

    Interesting hub. I don't know that much about american history but it strikes me that John L Sullivan must have been one of the most deluded persons in all of human history. Talk about "Rose tinted glasses".


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