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Westward Expansion

Use these resources to enhance your Westward Expansion lessons.

A significant push toward the west coast of North America began in the 1810s. It was intensified by the belief in manifest destiny, federally issued Indian removal acts, and economic promise. Pioneers traveled to Oregon and California using a network of trails leading west. In 1893 historian Frederick Jackson Turner declared the frontier closed, citing the 1890 census as evidence, and with that, the period of westward expansion ended.

Explore these resources to learn more about what happened between 1810 and 1893, as immigrants, American Indians, United States citizens, and freed slaves moved west.

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Article

United States Regions

A map gallery showing a commonly described regions in the United States. A map with and without state abbreviations...

Article

Pony Express Route

Map. The Pony Express trail used 80 riders and between 400 and 500 horses to carry mail from the settled Midwest to...


Photo

Land Lost By Mexico

Map of the United States and Mexico


Photo

Exploring the Louisiana Purchase

Map of Lewis and Clark's route west


Photo

Native American Removal from the Southeast

Map of Indian forced migration routes

Article

USGS

The United States Geological Survey, also called USGS, is one of the many departments in the U.S. government. USGS ...



Article

Gold Fever

Short article on the discovery of gold in California that sparked the California Gold Rush.

Historic Article

First Wagon Train Sets Off on the Oregon Trail

On May 16, 1842, a group of more than 100 pioneers left Elm Grove, Missouri, on the 3,500-kilometer (2,200-mile) Or...


Historic Article

Lewis and Clark Head Home

On March 23, 1806, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark finally started their return journey after...


Photo

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Map of the western territories


Photo

Trails West in the Mid-1800s

Map of trails west across the United States

Photo

Compromise of 1850

Map of the western United States



Article

After the Gold Rush

Short article on the aftermath of the California Gold Rush.

Article

nation

Encyclopedic entry. A nation is a territory where all the people are led by the same government. The word “nation” ...


Article

Historian: Dr. Malcolm Rohrbough

Malcolm is an historian at the University of Iowa and wrote 1997’s Days of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the ...


Photo

Immigration to the U.S. in the Late 1800s

Map of immigration to the U.S. from the east and west


Article

prairie

Prairies are enormous stretches of flat grassland with moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall, and few trees. Whe...

Article

Pony Power

A short article on the Pony Express.



Article

Intriguing Interactions

The Hopewell left behind more than just earthworks all over the Ohio River Valley. They also left a cache of artifa...

Article

Westward Expansion Through Maps

Students use maps to understand westward expansion, its impact on different groups of people, and think about the l...


Historic Article

Indian Removal Act

On May 28, 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, beginning the forced relocation of thousands of Native Ame...


Historic Article

Louisiana Purchased

On March 10, 1804, France officially transferred ownership of the Louisiana Purchase to the United States.


Photo

Trails West

Map of trails west across the United States

Photo

Territorial Gains by the U.S.

Maps of landed gained by the U.S.