What New Technology Was Sporked by Westward Expansion?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Amid the political and social upheavals of the first half of the 19th century, America began expanding westward. The western lands promised freedom and opportunity for the hardworking settlers who sought them. Rumors of rich farmland in Oregon and California, and a chance to own land, inspired many people to leave their homes to set out on the trail.

With the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the War of 1812, President Thomas Jefferson established a policy of U.S. expansion that lasted through two more presidential administrations. This policy, known as Manifest Destiny, helped the nation consolidate its power in the world by establishing new frontier territories that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

The era of westward expansion brought with it several major technological advancements that altered the American landscape. Inventions such as the telegraph and railroad allowed Americans to communicate with each other across thousands of miles; trains brought a new level of speed, convenience, and security to travel; and barbed wire enabled settlers to establish large ranching empires.

The westward movement also accelerated the formation of new states, including California in 1850, Oregon in 1860, Nevada in 1864, Colorado in 1876, and South and North Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah in 1890. In addition, the mechanization of agricultural machinery made it possible to cultivate larger crops with fewer workers. This included the mechanized reaper, steel plow, harrow, and the steel windmill. The introduction of these tools helped farmers in the West to grow crops like wheat, which became the nation’s breadbasket.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram