America’s victory during the American Revolution did not guarantee its prestige and success; that depended on the young nation’s people. Determination is the reason as to how the United States has the power it currently has. After gaining its independence, the United States transformed into a transcontinental nation by developing a stable economy, displaying nationalism and establishing great stature during the War of 1812, and expanding westward in order to fulfill the idea of manifest destiny. Immediately after the Revolutionary War, America realized that it had to improve its economy, especially because of its war debt. Alexander Hamilton was picked by George Washington to be the first Secretary of the Treasury; he proposed that the federal government should pay off state debts so that the federal government’s credibility will be established. Furthermore, Hamilton suggested the need for a national bank—it would “issue paper money, provide a safe place for public funds, offer banking facilities for commercial transactions, and act as the government’s fiscal agent” (“The First and Second Banks”). Despite opposition from figures like Jefferson and Madison, Hamilton’s bill was supported by the president and the First Bank of the United States was constructed in Philadelphia. The economy also prospered during the early industrial revolution which was initiated by Samuel Slater, who established the first industrial mill in America. The revolution primarily occurred in the northern urban areas, promoting a mass movement to the cities which led to overpopulation. This era also witnessed the development of the steamboat and the creation of canals and waterways—this improved transportation of materials and people. The South, maintaining an economy focused on agriculture, also benefited from the invention of the cotton gin. The engine prompted the success of the textile industry. America produced and exported the largest amount of cotton worldwide; the South, once again, depended on slaves due to the industry’s reliance on heavy manual labor. Known as a second war of independence, the War of 1812 ensured America’s freedom and instilled a sense of patriotism among its citizens. The British practice of impressment—taking American sailors and forcing them to serve in the Royal Navy—angered America and eventually initiated the war. Following the British invasion and burning of Washington, D.C., the Battle of Baltimore allowed for a vital American victory. The battle was also the site that inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that has been turned into America’s national anthem known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Imprisoned in a British warship, Key witnessed the aftermath of the battle; as reflected in the poem, the “American flag soared above the fort… meaning that Fort McHenry had not surrendered” (“Star-Spangled Banner”). Not long after the Battle of Baltimore, the Treaty of Ghent concluded the war; however, due to slow communication, the troops were unaware of the agreement. Andrew Jackson, along with a ragtag army of 4 500 men, defeated the well-equipped and highly skilled British army consisting of 8 000 men through strategic defense. Although the battle did not contribute to the war’s conclusion—a stalemate—it boosted the nation’s confidence. As pointed out by a French diplomat, ” ‘the war has given the Americans what they so essentially lacked, a national character’ ” (“The Unfinished Revolution”). Once again, the young nation proved that it had the potential to possess dominance and thus the start of the “Era of Good Feelings”. The formation of the transcontinental nation certainly relied heavily on the success of western expansion. At the time, the land known as Louisiana territory was owned by France; France was facing economic problems due to rebellion from its territories and an approaching war with Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson realized the importance of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans for trade, so he sent Robert Livingston and James Monroe to arrange a deal to purchase the port. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte made an unexpected proposal for America to purchase the whole territory for a price of $15 million, which Jefferson agreed to. The newly added territory doubled the size of America; Jefferson sent the Corps of Discovery to explore the land and how it can be of economic benefit. More than 30 years later, Texas claimed itself as a separate nation after winning the revolution, but Mexico refused to acknowledge it as such. The annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845 initiated the Mexican-American War. In the end, Mexico—with the invasion of its capital—was forced to abide by America’s requests; with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, “the American Southwest as we know it today officially came under U.S. control” and a border was established along the Rio Grande (“Mexican-American War”). The discovery of gold in this territory commenced mass migration from the east coast and also worldwide. The gold rush aided western expansion immensely; not only did it initiate social development, it also contributed to the nation’s ongoing industrialization. For America to gain recognition and the power that it has today, it had to face obstacles; independence was only the first step to the process. Buried in debt after a war, the young nation had to improve its suffering economy by establishing its First National Bank and depending on its resources to maintain the diverse regions’ economy. Not long after the Revolution, America was involved in another war in which the new country proved its combat abilities and displayed its newfound nationalism. Expansion was initiated by the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the country; when the Mexican-American War concluded, the country stretched to what is now known as the state of California. Evidently, the road to America’s present-day success was not smooth, but it allowed the nation to establish itself as a powerful country that offers countless opportunities to those who seek it.