This book examines the imperial aspirations and geographic expansion of the United States over the long nineteenth century, with emphasis on the process of state formation and political development. It analyzes the concerns and actions of federal policy makers in promoting the formation of national borders through territorial expansion, as well as the ultimate settlement and incorporation of lands on the frontier. In particular, it considers how federal land policies were used to regulate population movements across the territory. The book argues that the building of an American empire was a project of population control and settlement, aided primarily by land policy. This chapter provides an overview of the contested and multifaceted nature of American expansion, how this expansionist project relates to race and state formation, and the politics of population control. It also presents a summary of the chapters that follow.
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