Essay on Geographic Expansion of Britain and the United States

Published: 2021-06-30
1098 words
4 pages
10 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The geographical expansion of the British in North America and the United States into new territories in the years 1763 and 1805 had far reaching consequences as this essay will elaborate. Beginning in 1803, is the US purchase of New Orleans, a country which had been under the French counsel for a considerable amount of time. Alongside it, was the lucrative buying of the Louisiana territory which brought about a massive impact on the political, economic and social aspects. The political, economic and social perspectives, therefore, explains the impact of the acquisition and territorial expansion in the new territories as acquired by the above-mentioned nations.

The Political Aspect

Politically, the geographic expansion of Britain and the United States into new territory brought about slavery, slave revolts, and abolitionism. By the nineteenth century, a majority of nations in the Southern region of America had massive numbers of slave workers with New Orleans acting as a hub. Most southerners aspired to join higher ranks with the elites of the society by owning slaves.The slave trade became so lucrative as nine states joined a slave trade union in the year 1789 leading to a rapid expansion of the Southern regions. A census carried out in 1800 showed nearly a million of African Americans were slaves and the kept on rising to 4.4 million in subsequent years.

Secondly slave revolts and uprising by abolitionists such as David Walker, William Lloyd Garrison and free black men such as Solomon Northup and Frederick Douglass. Abolitionists had a much radical approach to slavery as they appealed to the societal moral compass in an effort to end it. Free slaves such as Frederick Douglass used oratory and written journals to fight against the trade bringing forth a powerful hoard of leaders in the United States at a time when the country was in dire need of such characters. As a result, slaves began the earnest rebellion and resistance practices which led to the arming of slaves and the killings of slave masters. Two revolts are recorded to have occurred first in the Southern region of Antebellum in 1811 and secondly the Nat Turner rebellion of 1831. The Antebellum revolt got its inspiration from the successful dethroning of white planters in Haiti. Statistics record almost five hundred slaves joined in the rebellion by taking up arms against the white population led by Charles Deslondes.

The second rebellion was, however, more deadly and took place in the Virginia state following the mistreatment and harassment carried out by one man, Nat Turner. Nat Turner who had lost his family to the trade, embittered and armed, sought help from relatives and black folk in massacring the white man. In August 22nd of 1831, Turner had caught the attention of not only Virginia but of the world also. His actions led to the creation of fear in a majority of states still practicing the trade as many sought its abolishment altogether. He created fear, uncertainty and uneasiness in many countries thus played a key role in the abolishment reforms which took place after.

The Economic Aspect

Economically, the geographic expansion of the British and the US into newer territories brought about the realization of massive business and commerce opportunities, cotton growing and formidable economies. The antebellum era which was characterized by the years before Civil War saw American farmers in the South ongoing with the Chesapeake tobacco and Carolina rice. These were antiquated practices linked to the colonial times and regimes. Cotton, however, sprung into the picture totally eclipsing sugar, tobacco, and rice as economic giants. Cotton had a huge demand right from the Great Britain industry and textiles companies and down to the slave trodden nation of the American people. Cotton grew both in value and demand bringing with it much needed economic boosts for Britain and the United States through the revolutionizing of the Industrial era. Cotton planting saw rows of slaves build a cotton empire by first clearing the land, then planting the seedlings in columns. Massive planting took place in the months of March and April with the careful tending of the farms to take place after. The work was heavily laborious and tasking thus required the use of whips by the white master for the colored slave. Despite the heavy chores, cotton soon established itself as a cash crop and led to the revolutionizing of the transportation industry with the introduction of the steamboat.

The Social Aspect

In the social aspect, the British and American expansion into new territories brought about cultural practices such as traditional naming systems, cultivation of some native African vegetation and the weaving of baskets. In the social arena, the African American sought their identity through the above-mentioned practices as they gave them a sense of belonging and purpose. In a similar manner, Christianity which was a new religion became their source of strength as they focused on the message of freedom as pertained to their slavery status. Numerous worshipping methodologies which required emotional responses to scriptures and hymns attracted many slaves to the religion and huge scores of the African Americans embraced Christianity.


In Conclusion, therefore, the expansion of both the British and the Americans into new territories led to the start and the political ending of the slave trade. In a similar fashion, the expansion led to the prolific growth of Britain and America's economies through the revolutionary growth and planting of Cotton. Lastly, the expansion led to the introduction, adoption and practice of Christianity, a religion which became popular the world over. In summary, therefore, the expansion of the two nations had both positive and negative ramifications to many people most especially the African Americans.


Adelman, Jeremy, and Stephen Aron. "From borderlands to borders: Empires, nation-states, and the peoples in between in North American history." The American Historical Review 104, no. 3 (1999): 814-841.

Dattel, G., 2009. Cotton and Race in the Making of America: the human costs of economic power. Government Institutes.Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Random House Digital, Inc., 2000.

Gray, Thomas R., and Nat Turner. "The Confessions of Nat Turner." (1831).

Kraditor, Aileen S. "Means and Ends in American Abolitionism: Garrison and His Critics on Strategy and Tactics, 1834-1850." (1971).

Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years A Slave (Full Book and Comprehensive Reading Companion). BookCaps Study Guides, 2013.

Walters, Ronald G. The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism after 1830. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976.White, Richard. It's your misfortune and none of my own: A new history of the American West. University of Oklahoma Press, 2015.

Wilmore, Gayraud S. Black religion and black radicalism: An interpretation of the religious history of African Americans. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998.


Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: