Printable Westward Expansion Worksheets
By the mid-nineteenth century the American colonists population had grew immensely in size and traveled as far as Texas. Land to the West had less demand and as a result was much less pricey. Pioneers set west in search of affordable land and new experiences. This set of worksheets helps students better understand the push west.
- Acrostic Poem
- Book Marks
- Comparing The Development Of Frontier Towns And Towns Back East
- Comparing The Role Of Women on the Frontier And Back East
- Group Creative Writing
- Reading Comprehension
- United States History Lesson Plans
- Vocabulary List & Definitions
- Vocabulary Quiz
- Westward Expansion Teaching Theme
- Word Search
- Writing Paper
Printable Bulletin Board Items
What Was the Westward Expansion?
There are many films on cowboys and the Wild West. The Westward Expansion of the US was an important time in American history. The United States wasn’t always this big. Thomas Jefferson led the expansion as they wanted to include Western America in the United States. They also wanted to spread American culture throughout the area. There are many important events in the westward expansion timeline. It also started the Mexican War. Did you know that the expansion also led to Civil War later?
When did It start?
When Thomas Jefferson became president, he wanted America to be bigger. He decided to buy Louisiana from France so that it could be part of the United States. Americans wanted more land to build their farms on too. At first, Jefferson sent two famous explorers- Lewis and Clark- to
What was the Manifest Destiny?
Many Americans in Europe wanted to come to North America to be rich. Most Americans were living near the mountains of Appalachia. Then somebody came up with the idea that it was part of their destiny to move to the West. Americans used the famous Oregon Trail, a road that connected Western Missouri to Oregon. Americans wanted new opportunities and better land for their farms. They believed they had to move to the West to get them. Many traders used the Oregon Trail.
The Westward Expansion and Slavery
As more states became part of the United States, they disagreed over whether or not to make them slave states. This disagreement eventually led to the Civil War when the Southern States were scared the North would ban slavery.
What was the Missouri Compromise?
Some states wanted to be free. Others wanted to stay in slave states. The Northern government was trying to slowly end slavery, but the South wanted new states to join them as slave states. Missouri was only added as a slave state on the condition that Maine would be counted as a free state. But this compromise wouldn’t apply to new states. Therefore there was even more disagreement over whether they would be free ones.
The Westward Expansion and Native Americans
Many Native Americans were living on the Western Frontier. Their lands were taken from them, and some of them were killed. Native Americans now live in protected reservations.
Why did the Mexican War happen?
The Americans moved on to the West. Most of the land there belonged to Mexico. California and Texas were once part of Mexico. At first, the Americans lived in peace with the Mexican tribes. They helped them gain independence from Mexico. James K. Polk, a new US president, decided they would take over the states owned by Mexico. This started a war with the Mexicans to take over the land.
After the war, Texas was made a slave state and Oregon a free state.
The main reason James Polk went to war against Mexico was to gain as much land as possible.
What was the 1850 Compromise?
After winning this war, the United States signed a treaty with Mexico. This treaty gave them many lands that they wanted. But more importantly, the Northern government wanted to make sure that the South wouldn’t try to get more slaves in the new areas. They wanted to bring an end to slavery. The slaves did all the work for people in the South. This didn’t give people in the North any chance to earn money.
In the 1850 compromise, they made California a free state. They also banned slavery in the North. This caused the South to panic because they were worried they would lose the slaves who did all the work for them. So the South started punishing slaves who tried to escape to the North.
This was also a bad time for Native Americans because most lived on Mexican land. They were forcefully removed from their homes.
What was the California Gold Rush?
The early Americans who moved to California found gold there. The first person to find gold found it accidentally near his mill. This made people really excited to find even more gold. It started the California Gold Rush. Even more, people began to move to the West to get rich. A lot of people looked for gold, even leaving their jobs so they could hunt. The people who came looking for gold were called ‘49ers’. Everyone didn’t have the same luck though. But that didn’t stop them from trying.
People used many different ways of getting to the West. Most people came by ship on the Pacific Ocean. Some of these routes were dangerous. People even travelled in wagons to reach California. This journey could take almost a year but they wanted the gold so badly that they came anyway. After the Gold Rush, even more, people were living in the new West. People from other countries also moved to the US to be a part of it!
When men started leaving their jobs, women could now take over those jobs. The Gold Rush was a good time for women’s rights since they were able to find more jobs, instead of just doing housework at home.
Learning about the Westward Expansion of US helps us understand how the United States came to be today. After the expansion, the US population increased by millions. Did you know cowboys in the Wild West were the first Americans to move to the West? It also helps us learn about Native American history and how their land was taken from them. It is an important part of Civil War history too. Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio wouldn’t be part of the US if it weren’t for the Westward Expansion.