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Adilson Fernandes Unit 11 Essay Was Westward Expansion Ethical?

March 29th, 2013

I was asked if the United States resembled a smart businessman or a playground bully. A smart businessman would make deals and decisions that would benefit his company. A playground bully picks on smaller things and just takes what he wants by force. The U.S resembles a playground bully. A perfect example would be the Westward Expansion in the 1800’s. During the expansion both ethical and unethical acts were performed. I believe all and all the Westward Expansion was Unethical. Some examples would be The Indian Removal Act, The Wars between Spanish and Americans, and all the states added to the union becoming slave states. Some people would say that “The Indian Removal Act” was pretty fair. The U.S takes the Native’s land and in return They give the Natives their own brand new land, plus protection from any invasions. It quotes in the removal act “ SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons.” Seems pretty fair but the way this act was carried out seemed very unethical. The acquisition of the Cherokee Territory was taken by force. The Cherokee Indians were all forcibly removed from their homes and put on to what some may call “The Trail of Tears”. 3-4 months of walking 850 miles to a land that these Natives would now have to call home. Many Cherokee died, about 4,000 cherokee died from disease and exhaustion. Most U.S citizens did not approve of this act. Some even offered to help the Cherokee but others still did

things like charge for grains and other food. Very Unethical.This reminds me of something a playground bully would do. Also, the Cherokee were promised that their new land would be their own land for generations to come. If we look at a population map, we could see that not many Natives live in that area they were given anymore. They were spread across all of the U.S (“We Shall Remain”, PBS, 2009)(“Memorial of the Cherokee Nation”,Cherokee People,1830) Also, the battles between Mexicans and Americans were pointless wars. The battles were fought because of disagreement of a borderline between Mexico and America. On April 24th 63 men were dispatched from American camp to find out whether Mexican troops crossed the U.S border or were planning to. This war was based on misunderstandings. The American soldiers became engaged with a large body of Mexicans and were surrounded and killed or wounded. The U.S says Mexican crossed the borderline and shed American blood on the American soil. Nothing very ethical about that. People was killed, and it was a pointless war. Things could’ve been resolved in another way. U.S and Mexico couldn’t agree on a borderline so they made their own and it led to bloodshed. (A request made to congress to declare war on Mexicans, President James Polk, 1848) Slavery. morally wrong but economically right in the 1800’s. After every acquisition of new territory made by the U.S, that state became another slave state. Pretty much every state in the south became another state for slavery. Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Virginia.(TCI,2009),London England Newspaper,London Times,1845) These were all the slave states with high population of slaves Although at the time slavery was best for economy, but slavery wasn’t good for slaves. Slaves were not treated ethically. They were treated as property and slavery was growing rapidly because of the expansion. Every state added to the Union from the expansion just became an

even bigger slave state and it was giving more power to the south. By the test of Ethical or Unethical, Slavery did more harm than good. Morally, it’s hard to defend slavery and this had serious lack of equality. Although slavery was legal at the time it was unethical to force people to work for you with no pay. (http://www.thehistorymaps.com/demography/) Pointless wars, removing Natives from their own home for someone else’s own use, and the expansion of slavery all prove that the Westward Expansion of the 1800’s was unethical. It had some ethical moments because there was a lot of diplomacy, but some of these deals promises were not kept. The Westward Expansion did lead to our great American Nation today and we are protected by huge bodies of water. But the way we expanded our borders was forceful and something an imperialist would do. Our great nation is not an imperialist so as Americans we should not act as such. The Westward Expansion was unethical and at the time America acted as imperialists. At the time Americans did act as a playground bully.