Westward expansion
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Westward Expansion. Essential Question How did the United States expand its territories between 1800 and 1860?. Credits. Next.

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Westward Expansion

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Westward expansion

Westward Expansion

Essential Question

How did the United States expand its territories between 1800 and 1860?

Credits

Next


Westward expansion

In the late 1700s, many Americans felt that land in the east was too crowded. They set out west, hoping to find more space and new land to settle on. Slowly, the United States acquired more land and grew into the country we know today.

Click on each button to learn more about the history of that region.

Oregon Trail

Louisiana Purchase

California Gold Rush

Ready to show your teacher what you learned?

Click here!

The Mexican War

Map image obtained from The National Atlas of the United States. Work is in the public domain.

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Westward expansion

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected president. At this time, the French controlled a large area of land west of the Mississippi River. This was a danger to American farmers because they depended on using the port in New Orleans to trade their goods.

New Orleans

Image used with permission under GNU Free Documentation License.

Ask yourself... What might happen to the farmers if the French decided to close the New Orleans port to American farmers?

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Westward expansion

Thomas Jefferson wanted to protect the farmers. In 1803, he sent representatives to France to speak with Napoleon Bonaparte. Their goal was to convince Bonaparte to agree that U.S. farmers could trade through New Orleans.

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

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Westward expansion

The United States was very surprised when the French offered to SELL the land to the United States. It turns out, the French needed money for a war against Great Britain.

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Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.


Westward expansion

Jefferson was excited to add this huge area of land to the United States, so he bought it for $15 million dollars – that is less than 4 cents an acre! The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the country, added about 828,000 square miles.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

Ask yourself... Do you think the Louisiana Purchase was a good business deal for the United States?

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Westward expansion

Jefferson had always been interested in science and nature. He wanted to learn more about the new territory and beyond, so he sent a special expedition to explore it.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent to...

Gather information about the landforms, plants, animals, and climates of the West

Study the cultures of the western Native Americans

Explore the Missouri and Columbia rivers in hopes of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

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Westward expansion

Challenge

Visit this websiteto see pictures of the land that Lewis and Clark crossed on the expedition. Choose one of the photographs and think about the things they would have needed to do to get past this landmark. Write a journal entry to describe it.

Image of Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

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Check your understanding

Check Your Understanding

The Louisiana Purchase was important because it

Doubled the size of the United States

Was land claimed by the Spanish king

Was won in a war against the French

Led to the War of 1812 against Britain

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

Jefferson was excited to add this huge area of land to the United States, so he bought it for $15 million dollars – that is less than 4 cents an acre! The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the country, added about 828,000 square miles.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

Home

Try Again


Check your understanding1

Check Your Understanding

What did Jefferson ask Lewis and Clark to do?

explore the source of the Mississippi River

explore Western land and Native American cultures

meet with the French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte

stop the British from claiming land in Canada

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

Home


Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent to...

Gather information about the landforms, plants, animals, and climates of the West

Study the cultures of the western Native Americans

Explore the Missouri and Columbia rivers in hopes of finding a water route to the Pacific Ocean

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

Home

Try Again


Westward expansion

In 1821, the first settlers from the United States arrived in Texas in search of inexpensive land. Texas was then a part of Mexico. Within ten years, there were more Americans than Mexicans in Texas!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

The new settlers did not always obey Mexican laws. They were most upset that slavery was illegal in Mexico, because many settlers brought slaves with them from the United States. Because of these differences, American settlers wanted to break away from Mexico.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

In 1836, Texans rebelled against Mexico to win independence. The president of Mexico sent a large army to stop the rebellion. His goal was to capture the Alamo, an old mission that Texans were using as a military fort. Less than 200 Americans defended the Alamo. Most of them were killed during the Battle of the Alamo.

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Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.


Westward expansion

But the Texans remembered this important battle. Texans later launched a surprise attack on the Mexicans at San Jacinto, shouting

while they defeated Mexican troops and captured the Mexican president. After this, Mexico agreed to give Texas its independence.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

Now that they were free from Mexico, Texans wanted to be annexed by the United States. Annexation is the act of joining two countries or pieces of land together. In 1845, Congress voted to annex Texas.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

After Texas joined the United States, Mexico wanted the border between Texas and Mexico to be at the Nueces River. The United States wanted the boundary to be the Rio Grande river.

Make a prediction – based on where the present-day border between Mexico and Texas is, who do you think won this conflict?

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

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Westward expansion

The United States and Mexico went to war over this disagreement. Eventually, U.S. soldiers captured Mexico City in September 1847. Mexico's leaders agreed to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a peace treaty that set the Rio Grande as the border between Mexico and Texas. Mexico was also forced to turn over a large area of land called the Mexican Cession.

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

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Check your understanding2

Check Your Understanding

The Mexican law that most angered Americans living in Texas was that they could not

move west

form an army

farm the land

own slaves

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

The new settlers did not always obey Mexican laws. They were most upset that slavery was illegal in Mexico, because many settlers brought slaves with them from the United States. Because of these differences, American settlers wanted to break away from Mexico.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

Home

Try Again


Check your understanding3

Check Your Understanding

What caused the Mexican War?

The U.S. wanted to take over Mexico City

Mexico invaded the United States

Mexico was angry that the U.S. allowed slavery

Mexico and the United States could not agree on the border between the two countries

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

After Texas joined the United States, Mexico wanted the border between Texas and Mexico to be at the Nueces River. The United States wanted the boundary to be the Rio Grande river.

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

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Westward expansion

In the 1840s, settlers began hearing exciting things about the West and decided to move there. They often traveled on the Oregon Trail. It was about 2,000 miles long and stretched from Missouri, across the Rocky Mountains, to present-day Oregon.

Image used with permission under GNU Free Documentation License.

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Westward expansion

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

People traveled in large groups of wagons called wagon trains. Oxen, mules, or horses pulled each wagon. Travelers on the Oregon Trial faced injuries, diseases, and bad weather. Lack of food and water were problems, too.

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To move or not to move

To Move or Not to Move...

Reasons to Move

Reasons NOT to Move

Long journey

Many dangers

Traveling by wagon was difficult – bumpy, cramped, equipment often broke

Weather was a challenge

Many challenging landforms to cross – mountains, rivers, bitter cold plains

  • Some people felt land in the east was too crowded

  • Mormons wanted religious freedom

  • Inexpensive or free land

  • The draw of gold

  • Adventure

  • Manifest Destiny - The belief that it was America’s destiny, or purpose, to control all land from the Atlantic to the Pacific

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Westward expansion

Challenge

Watch the video below and decide – If you lived in the 1800s, would you have moved? Create a letter, journal entry, comic, drawing, poem, chart, or song that explains your opinion.

Would You Move? Video

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Check your understanding4

Check Your Understanding

Which of the following is NOT one of the reasons settlers moved westward?

Land in the east was crowded with farms and cities.

Traveling in a covered wagon was fast and easy.

People were in search of free or inexpensive land.

Mormons wanted religious freedom.

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

Reasons to Move

Reasons NOT to Move

  • Some people felt land in the east was too crowded

  • Mormons wanted religious freedom

  • Inexpensive or free land

  • The draw of gold

  • Adventure

  • Manifest Destiny - The belief that it was America’s destiny, or purpose, to control all land from the Atlantic to the Pacific

  • Long journey

  • Many dangers

  • Traveling by wagon was difficult – bumpy, cramped, equipment often broke

  • Weather was a challenge

  • Many challenging landforms to cross – mountains, rivers, bitter cold plains

Home

Try Again


Westward expansion

In the 1800s, gold was discovered in California. Thousands of people from the United States, Mexico, Chine, Europe and South America rushed to California to dig for gold. These people became known as forty-niners, because they went to California around 1849.

Make an Inference – Look at the photograph. What do you think the life of a forty-niner was like?

Image obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Work is in the public domain.

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Westward expansion

During the California Gold Rush, more than 250,000 people moved to California. Boomtowns sprang up near the gold mines. Boomtowns are towns whose population booms, or grows, very quickly.

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

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Westward expansion

The Gold Rush lasted only about five years. Though a few miners found gold, but most did not. Some forty-niners went back home, but most stayed and settled in California. As a result, California was changed forever. Miners and farmers killed Native Americans and took over their land. Californian cities grew, and soon California had enough people to become a state.

Challenge

Visit this websiteand imagine that you traveled to California during the Gold Rush. Write a summary about some of the decisions you needed to make during your move.

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Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.


Check your understanding5

Check Your Understanding

A major result of the California Gold Rush was that

All the people became rich from finding gold.

Most of the people returned back east.

California had enough people to become a state.

Native Americans killed miners and took their land.

A

B

C

D


Westward expansion

You’re Right! Nice Job!

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.

Home


Westward expansion

Oops... That’s not right!

The Gold Rush lasted only about five years. Though a few miners found gold, but most did not. Some forty-niners went back home, but most stayed and settled in California. As a result, California was changed forever. Miners and farmers killed Native Americans and took over their land. Californian cities grew, and soon California had enough people to become a state.

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Try Again

Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.


Credits

Credits

Instructional resource created by Anna Cajiga, Michigan State University.

Content modified from Fulton County 4th Grade Social Studies Unit – Westward Expansion and Houghton Mifflin Georgia Social Studies – United States History: Early Years.

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Westward expansion

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