Westward Expansion and Great Plains Study Guide

Westward Expansion and Great Plains Study Guide
Vast Area to Be Settled
Key Question: What were the reasons for westward expansion after the Civil War?
Land ownership opportunities
2. Adventure
3. Railroad (technological advances)
4. Gold and silver
5. Enslaved (former) African Americans had new beginning
The Great Plains (Treeless Wasteland)
Key Question: What are the physical features and climate of the Great Plains?
Flatlands that rise gradually from east to west
2. Low rainfall
3. Eroded by wind and water
4. Dust storms were frequent
Settling the Great Plains
Key Questions: What inventions/adaptations allowed
What problems were solved?
pioneers to settle the challenging environment of the Great
1. Barbed wire
No trees for fencing
2. Steel plow
Hard soil to cut through
3. Dry farming
Growing plants with little rain
4. Sod houses
How to build a house without wood
5. Beef-cattle raising
Could withstand climate with little expense for food
6. Wheat farming
Could withstand climate and provided food and income
7. Windmill
Finding water deep below ground
8. Transcontinental Railroad
Shipping goods and people from East to West for less
expense in money and time
A Change in Perception
Key Question: How did people’s perception of the Great Plains change?
1. Because of new technologies, people saw the Great Plains not as a treeless wasteland, but as a vast
area to be settled.
American Indians
Key Question:
Who were the key American Indians?
1. Sitting Bull: a spiritual leader, did not want to
be forced from his lands on the Great Plains.
He battled with the much smaller United States
army and won decisively. Opposed to westward
2. Geronimo: a leader of American Indians in the
Southwest, refused to go to a reservation and
sought justice from settlers in the southwest.
He was captured, but stories of his bravery
made him famous. Opposed to westward
3. Chief Joseph: leader of the Nez Perce tribe, he
tried to bring his people to Canada rather than
be forced onto a reservation. He ultimately
surrendered rather than see his people die of
cold and starvation.
Impact on American Indians
Key Question: How were American Indians impacted by Westward expansion?
1. Assimilation attempts and lifestyle changes due to a reduced buffalo population
2. Relocated from their traditional lands onto reservations.
3. Reduced population through warfare and disease.
4. Opposed to westward settlement. In the 1870s there were many battles between the U.S. Army and
American Indians.
5. Whites broke treaties which reduced the American Indian homeland.
6. The Battle of Little Bighorn was a temporary victory for American Indians. They were defending land
that had been granted to them in a treaty. Once gold was discovered, the treaty was broken.
7. The Battle of Wounded Knee was the final attack on American Indians. They were celebrating a
religious ceremony when the United States’ troops fearing an attack, killed 800 men, women and