The acquisition of the West made America into a transcontinental power — a country straddling two oceans, filling with immigrants from around the world.
It seems like there should have been room for everybody. In the end, there was really only enough space to accomodate the white man's sense of Manifest Destiny — the notion that the mission of the United States was to cover the territory between the two continents.
One emblematic story of the conquest of the West is told in Hampton Sides' new history Blood and Thunder. He focuses on the 20-year battle for control of Navajo country... a story of bloodshed and deceit.
Sides discusses his book with Scott Simon.