The attitude of New England toward westward expansion, 1800-50
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This study reveals that, from the establishment of the first settlements in Massachusetts to 1850, continuous opposition to expansion existed in New England; and that, although the underlying reasons for it remained essentially the same, it found expression in many ways. The anti-expansionists desired to keep the control of government, religion, social, and economic affairs in their own hands and to mold them in accordance with their own ideas, and they believed that their objectives could be promoted more effectively by resisting the extension of settlements. While it is true that during the colonial period there was a contest between the various New England colonies for territorial aggrandizement, it need not be assumed that, simply because a colony sought to extend its boundaries at the expense of its neighbors, it adopted a general policy of encouraging the establishment of settlements in the West.