Geographic and economic factors that influenced westward movement
Population growth in the eastern states.
Availability of cheap, fertile land.
Economic opportunity, e.g., gold (California Gold Rush), logging, farming, freedom (for runaway slaves)
How did the westward expansion start?
In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase took place, doubling the size of the country. By 1840 almost 7 million Americans had migrated westward in hopes of securing land and being prosperous. The belief that settlers were destined to expand to the west is often referred to as Manifest Destiny.