Western Expansion and Reform (1829-1859)
Presidents Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and John
Tyler, like many Americans of this time, embraced the notion of
enlarging the "empire for liberty." In other words they wanted
to expand the borders of America westward. While some pioneers headed
west to California, others attempted to expand the idea of what
"liberty" in America meant.
Abolitionists opposed laws that kept African
Americans enslaved, and advocates of women's suffrage argued that wives,
mothers and daughters should play a more significant role in society by
voting, holding office, and working outside the home.