In a relatively short period of seventy years, the United States expanded dramatically from a modest seaboard settlement facing the Atlantic Ocean into a massive transcontinental entity that also faced southward to the Gulf of Mexico and westward to the Pacific Ocean. The total size of the republic approximately tripled. After 1853 the expansion stopped almost as abruptly as it had begun. Only Alaska and Hawaii (not on this map), which were acquired later in the nineteenth century and recognized as states in 1959, have been added since then to the United States.

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