"Elbow Room" is a song in Schoolhouse Rock!, which can be heard in America Rock. The song teaches us about the U.S. territorial expansion and the Manifest Destiny.


One thing you will discover
When you get next to one another
Is everybody needs some elbow room
(Elbow room)

It's nice when you're kinda cozy
But not when you're tangled nose to nosy
Oh, Everybody needs some elbow
Needs a little elbow room

That's how it was in the early days of the U.S.A.
The people kept coming to settle, though
The East was the only place there was to go

The president was Thomas Jefferson
He made a deal with Napoleon
How'd you like to sell a mile or two?
(Or three, or a hundred, or a thousand?)

And so, in 1803, the Louisiana territory
Was sold to us without a fuss
And gave us lots of elbow room

Oh, Elbow room, elbow room
Got to, got to get us some elbow room
It's the West or bust
In God we trust
There's a new land out there!

Lewis and Clark volunteered to go.
Goodbye, good luck, wear your overcoat!
They prepared for good times and for bad
(And for bad)

They hired Sacagawea to be their guide
She led them all across the countryside
Reached the coast and found the most
Elbow room we've ever had

The way was opened up for folks with bravery
There were plenty of fights
To win land rights
But the West was meant to be
It was our manifest destiny!

The trappers, traders, and the peddlers
The politicians and the settlers
They got there by any way they could
(Any way they could)

The Gold Rush trampled down the wilderness
The railroads spread across from east to west
And soon the West was opened up for...opened up for good

And now we jet from east to west
Goodbye New York, hello L.A.!
But it took those early folks to open up the way

Now we've got a lot of room to be
Growing from sea to shining sea
Guess that we have got our elbow room
(Elbow room)

But if there should ever come a time
When we're crowded up together, I'm
Sure we'll find some elbow room...up on the moon!

Oh, elbow room, elbow room
Got to, got to get us some elbow room
It's the moon or bust
In God we trust
There's a new land up there!