"Population of the United States," detail from The United States at One View, 1847

Growing Pains

In this detail from a colorful broadside packed with statistics, Americans could see the growth of the U.S. population and imagine a need for new territory.

The population of the United States increased quickly during the mid-nineteenth century, and the western states grew particularly fast. The admission of new states and migration to western territories threatened the balance between free and slave states in the Union. As a result of population growth and territorial expansion, politicians faced pressure to resolve questions surrounding slavery‘s extension into the West.