American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

U.S. Territorial Expansion

Published April 5, 2011

Jay Gitlin, Yale University
U.S. Territorial Expansion: From the Louisiana Purchase to the California Gold Rush
The Graduate Center
February 22, 2011

Historian Jay Gitlin examines American diversity through the lens of westward expansion rather than immigration. In the nineteenth century hundreds of thousands of people who spoke a different language, held different religious beliefs, and came from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds became U.S. residents through territorial acquisition, conquest, and diplomacy.

Professor Gitlin describes the people and cultures within the Louisiana Purchase and conflicts that arose with that acquisition. He then outlines the key events and ethnic and cultural issues related to the Mexican American War and the California gold rush.

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