The Revolution removed Britain’s constraints on westward expansion, putting pressure on neighboring French, Spanish, and Native Americans. Natural population increase and continued immigration expanded the agrarian economies of both the North and South. In the nineteenth century, the United States government took action to open the way for western settlement, first to the Mississippi and then to the Pacific.

Reminiscent of an earlier era, the 1848 discovery of gold in California lured young men from across the continent and the oceans to stake everything on a gamble for riches. The locale was new, but the devastating effect on native peoples followed a now familiar pattern. The continental leap in migration caused alarm among the Indians of the Plains and the Great Basin, now squeezed by settlers advancing from both sides.
Area Table 73 1846 Berghaus

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“Vereinigte Staaten von Nord-America” by Heinrich Karl Wilhelm Berghaus. Adolf Stieler, Hand-Atlas über alle Theile der Erde…. [Gotha, (Germany): Justus Perthes, 1846.]

Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History (Area Table 73 1846 Berghaus)