The Louisiana Purchase, Manifest Destiny, and the Gold Rush The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 consisted of buying a piece of land from France that covered more than 800 square miles of new territory marking the largest expansion for the U. S. The signing of the Louisiana Purchase treaty on April 30, 1803, doubled the size of the United States and opened up the continent to its westward expansion.
This single purchase was only the beginning of westward movement and expansion of the United States. The Louisiana purchase did not instantly populate the area, it did however mark the true beginning of westward movement and expansion. (2) An American newspaper editor, John O’Sullivan, wrote an article about the annexation of Texas in 1845 when the term Manifest Destiny was first coined.
O’sullivan argued that is was America’s Manifest Destiny to expand across the entire continent.This term was picked up by the government and was used to convince the people that they were superior to other nations and peoples and had a divine calling to spread their beliefs to all. The Louisiana Purchase along with the discovery of Gold and other precious minerals lighted the fire and the flames fanned by the idea of Manifest destiny significantly contributed to the movement of peoples into the wilderness and across the country that is now known as the United States.The Gold Rush of 1849 was nothing more than a mass exodus of people from the east coast to the west coast following a discovery of gold there in 1848.
James Marshall discovered gold while building a saw mill in Sacramento California. Marshall was building this sawmill along with John A Sutter. Sutter and Marshall agreed to keep the gold discovery a secret, however the news soon leaked out to the public. A man named Samuel Brannan had a plan to corner the market on everything associated with panning for gold.Brannan bought up all the supplies he could for gold prospecting and soon after he spread the word of gold. (3) The word soon spread across the country however people did not believe the news, until President James Polk said “The accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory are of such extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by authentic reports of officers in the public service. Following the Presidents words the movement was on thousands of people dropped what they were doing and made plans to go find their riches in California. (1)