The beginning of the United States territorial formation was given by the English when they occupied the eastern portion (Atlantic coastal plain) of North America. In the subtropical southern coast, they planted cotton and tobacco plantations , and the temperate north coast remained practically uninhabited, that is, it did not attract migrants from pre-industrial Europe (16th and 17th centuries).
The expulsion of the English peasantry from their lands by the disorganization of the feudal system leveraged emigration to north Atlantic coast , which was occupied by some indigenous groups. Immigrants implanted small and medium-sized properties in the region. The embryonic merchant bourgeoisie in the region produced articles that were exchanged for African slaves.
England’s spending on the conquest of land between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River (New France) and to dominate the natives made the British Crown collect taxes from its American colonies ( Stamp Act – Tea Act ). The colonists’ reaction against the excess of taxes levied the process of independence of the Thirteen American Colonies . On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence of the United States .
England recognized the independence of the United States in 1783. The new nation occupied a vast territory stretching from the Mississippi River Delta to the western portion of the Great Lakes.
In the early nineteenth century, the United States obtained for 15 million dollars the territories of Louisiana that belonged to France.
The territory of the Florida was acquired from Spain in 1819. The region of Texas , which belonged to Mexico, was occupied by the Americans for the planting of cotton, generating a diplomatic incident between the countries. This region was annexed, in 1845, as a state of the Union, thus configuring an imperialist act of the United States.
In 1846, the northwest portion that belonged to England was ceded to the United States.
The expansion westward in areas that also belonged to Mexico intensified after the discovery of the gold in California, generating war between Mexico and the United States. Mexico, defeated in the conflict, received a US $ 10 million compensation for the incorporation to the United States of the present states of California , Nevada , New Mexico , Utah and Arizona (1853).
O Alaska was purchased from Russia for seven million dollars in 1867.
The internal expansion had as its foundation and legitimation the so-called Manifest Destiny. The doctrine of Manifest Destiny, according to the historian Hector Bruit, was inspired by social Darwinism, authored by the English philosopher H. Spencer. It is the natural selection within social relations, that is, the survival of the most capable, the richest who swallows by competition the weakest. Failure is synonymous with inferiority and, of course, success means superiority… Manifest Destiny popularized itself quickly, defending American territorial expansion as an unlimited process, which should not stop in California but go around the world.