Westward Expansion - Michigan State University

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Westward Expansion
Essential Question
How did the United States expand its
territories between 1800 and 1860?
Credits
Next
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
California
Gold Rush
Louisiana
Purchase
The
Mexican
War
Map image obtained from The National Atlas of the United States. Work is in the public domain.
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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.
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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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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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.
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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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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...
1. Gather information about the
landforms, plants, animals, and
climates of the West
2. Study the cultures of the
western Native Americans
3. 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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Visit this website to 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
The Louisiana Purchase was important because it
A Doubled the size of the United States
B Was land claimed by the Spanish king
C Was won in a war against the French
D Led to the War of 1812 against Britain
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
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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 Understanding
What did Jefferson ask Lewis and Clark to do?
A explore the source of the Mississippi River
B explore Western land and Native American cultures
C meet with the French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte
D stop the British from claiming land in Canada
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
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Oops... That’s not right!
Meriwether Lewis and William
Clark were sent to...
1. Gather information about the
landforms, plants, animals, and
climates of the West
2. Study the cultures of the
western Native Americans
3. 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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Try
Again
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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Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
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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.
Next
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.
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But the Texans remembered this important battle. Texans later
launched a surprise attack on the Mexicans at San Jacinto,
shouting
REMEMBER
THE
ALAMO!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
while they defeated Mexican troops and captured the
Mexican president. After this, Mexico agreed to give Texas its
independence.
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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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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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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 Understanding
The Mexican law that most angered Americans living in
Texas was that they could not
A move west
B form an army
C farm the land
D own slaves
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
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Next
Oops... That’s not right!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
Home
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.
Try
Again
Check Your Understanding
What caused the Mexican War?
A The U.S. wanted to take over Mexico City
B Mexico invaded the United States
C Mexico was angry that the U.S. allowed slavery
D Mexico and the United States could not agree on
the border between the two countries
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
Home
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.
Home
Try
Again
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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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...
Reasons 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
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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
Next
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 Understanding
Which of the following is NOT one of the reasons
settlers moved westward?
A Land in the east was crowded with farms and cities.
B Traveling in a covered wagon was fast and easy.
C People were in search of free or inexpensive land.
D Mormons wanted religious freedom.
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
Home
Oops... That’s not right!
Reasons 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
Home
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
Try
Again
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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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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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.
Visit this website and 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.
Next
Check Your Understanding
A major result of the California Gold Rush was that
A All the people became rich from finding gold.
B Most of the people returned back east.
C California had enough people to become a state.
D Native Americans killed miners and took their land.
You’re Right! Nice Job!
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
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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.
Home
Image used with permission from Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art.
Try
Again
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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