Westward expansion
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Westward Expansion. William Clark and Meriwether Lewis. Louisiana Purchase. Good Deal: Paid France $15 million Doubled the size of the country Gained control of the Mississippi River Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Explored geography Created maps ( routes to the Pacific Ocean)

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Westward Expansion

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Westward expansion

Westward Expansion

William clark and meriwether lewis

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis

Louisiana purchase

Louisiana Purchase

  • Good Deal: Paid France $15 million

  • Doubled the size of the country

  • Gained control of the Mississippi River

    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

  • Explored geography

  • Created maps (routes to the Pacific Ocean)

  • Studied how Indian tribes lived

  • Was helped by Sacagawea



  • Sounds interesting, but I am afraid of the journey and leaving what I know and where I feel safe.

  • Would you leave your home to explore and settle on a new land?

Homestead act to expand the west

Homestead Act:To expand the west

  • May 20, 1862

  • Qualifications: Head of House

    • 21 years or older

    • Citizen

    • Can not bear arms against the United States

Land allotment

Land Allotment:

  • ¼ section or less

  • Approximate 160 acres

    Filing Requirement:

  • Swear for personal use only

  • Application at land office

  • Ten dollars



  • If the head of the house dies:

    • Spouse inherits the land

    • If they both die – oldest child

Loss of land


  • If you have not worked on it for five years

  • Can’t lose land due to previous debt

  • If no one has lived there for more than 6 months

Westward expansion

Reasons for Moving West

1841 1866 approximately 350 000 americans traveled west for a variety of reasons

1841-1866: approximately 350,000Americans traveled West for a variety of reasons:

  • a fresh start

  • fertile farmland

  • religious persecution

  • adventure

  • prospects of riches

Four jump off points

Four Jump-Off Points

St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Independence, Missouri

  • Council Bluffs, Iowa

  • Nauvoo, Illinois

Westward expansion

  • The Cost of Traveling West:

  • $800.00 -$1,200.00

  • Most people who traveled west were fairly well off

  • According to a “Guide To California” published in 1849 necessary supplies for a party of four could cost near $600.00.

Westward expansion

Other items the travelers brought with them included:


60 lbs. CoffeeBedding

100 lbs. SugarTools

200 lbs. LardClothing

40 lbs. Salt8 lbs. Pepper

Westward expansion

  • The Journey:

  • six (6) months to complete

  • Must start in the early Spring

  • Too early, could face flooded rivers, and late snows

  • Too late they faced possible of severe weather conditions while crossing the Rockies.

Oregon trail

Oregon Trail

  • Fur trappers -attracted to the plentiful animals.

  • Settlers/farmers -attracted by the fertile land in certain areas.

  • Used guidebooks to travel - often wrong

  • Donner Party – took a cut-off and was snowed in on the Sierra Nevada Mountain. Resorted to extremes to survive.

Westward transportation

Westward Transportation

  • Walking: most people, except for the aged and ill, walked 2,000 miles in about 6 months

  • Disney World (Florida) is approximately 1,100 miles away!

Prairie schooners would form wagon trains

“Prairie Schooners” would form Wagon Trains

Westward expansion

Scores of wagons traveled over the same tracks. Usually, wagons traveled several columns across, and several wagons deep. A view from the sky would reveal perhaps a dozen or so tracks parallel to these.



  • Rivers were easy for transporting both people and goods. (cheaper and quicker)

  • River “towns” became crowded like the cities – people moved farther away

  • Connecting rivers were also needed

Westward expansion


  • Canalswere the answer – man-made “rivers” used to move goods and for quicker travel.

  • Barges moved along the canals, pulled by mules or horses which walked along the edge of the water.

  • Erie Canal (363 miles) – took 8 years and $7 million.


Westward expansion

  • Canals were dug by men with shovels and horses

  • Carried goods, such as furniture and clothing to the west.

  • Brought back goods, such as grain and lumber to the east.



  • Terrain, ranging from wide open prairie to the desert like Badlands, made travel difficult.

  • Mountains could be impassable, and they always feared the lack of fresh water and food.

  • Hardships along the trails were common, and varied. Weather could turn severe without notice.



  • Indians, although usually helpful, could always pose a threat.

  • Daily routines were exhausting. Food and water had to be obtained. Fires had to be started, meals cooked, pots cleaned, etc.

  • Accidents and disease was all to common, and unfortunately deadly.

Accidents were common

Accidents were common

  • Children fell or jumped off, crushed to death by the wheels or oxen

  • Bison stampede smashed wagons

  • Adults and children drowned in river crossings.

  • Bitten by poisonous snakes (land and water)



  • Log Cabins

  • Sod Houses:

    • No tress on the Great Plains

    • Used chunks of sod

    • Often built into a hill

    • Leaked, insects, dark, uncomfortable

Westward expansion

Manifest Destiny – President James Polk believed in this doctrine

  • It is the idea that it was the will of God for the U.S. to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

The mexican war 1846

The Mexican War (1846)


  • Mexico was opposed to Texas becoming a U.S. territory

  • The U.S. and Mexico disagreed where about the southern boundary of Texas.

Westward expansion

Did I “Polk” and provoke the war with Mexico? Maybe!

  • President Polk used this border dispute to justify moving U.S. troops into Mexican territory.

  • “Remember the Alamo”

Westward expansion

  • The Alamo: About 200 Americans, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, versus over 6,000 Mexican troops.

  • Americans held the mission for 12 days, but the Mexicans won. Most Americans eventually were killed.

  • Overall: U.S. Army was too strong for the Mexicans – won easily.

Westward expansion



  • Mexico agreed that the Rio Grande River was the southern boundary of Texas.

  • Mexico gave all of present-day California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as part of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming

  • The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for this land – called Mexican Cession.

The gadsden purchase

The Gadsden Purchase

  • 5 years later – U.S. paid Mexico $10 million for more land in southern New Mexico and Arizona.

  • U.S. Railroad companies wanted to build train routes to California on this land

Ideas move east

Ideas Move EAST

  • Ideas about equality and democracy moved

    Who was allowed to vote?

  • East – Only white males over 21 who owned property

  • West – ALL white males over 21

    Voting rules were eventually changed in the east.

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