Aim: How did the trails help
Westward Expansion?
• Originally disputed by Spain, Russia, US, and
– Russia and Spain out of mix from old treaties
• Race to populate the region
• England had more legal rights to land, but US
was winning population war
• “54’40 or Fight”!!!!!!
• Eventually, Polk settles with England at 49th
parallel,,, Why settle???
• 49th is what he expected/wanted all alongPolk’s brinksmanship
Oregon and Santa Fe Trails
started in Independence Missouri
–Central location
–Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to get to the trail
–Santa Fe Trail basically the route of Kearney’s army
march in Mexican War
•Importance of Trails
–Starting point
–Know route
–We needed to populate the region
• What features stand out on the map?
• What is the purpose?
Dangers/Problems on the Trails!
• With a partner, come up with 5 problems
or dangers that will exist along the trail
system, and give a realistic (for the
1800’s) way to solve the problem!!!
Problems/Dangers along the Trails
Hostile Native Americans
Wild animals
Temperature/climate/topography/Rocky Mountains
Lack of supplies
Heavy loads/slow trip (5 months)-Conestoga wagons
Women and children
Mormons (1857)- “Utah War”/ Mountain Meadow Massacre
“Circle the Wagons”
Donner Party
– Yummy!!!!!!
Squatter’s Rights (Adverse
• Original policy by US government in
1830’s and 1840’s
– People could settle on public lands, then buy
the property later when the government
needed to sell it
– Rewards productive use of the land
• Problems of this policy
– Fighting for land
– Legal claims?
Homestead Act (1862)
• US government gave 160 acres of
land basically for free
– $10 registration fee
– Person must live on the land
– 5 years to make improvements to the land
 Why US created this policy?
 Desperate need to populate the region
 Protection/defense
 Tax base
 Spread out the population
 Civil War importance-1862!!
Land Rush
• What land did the US give away?
– Midwest
– Usually not the best land
– Parts of Oklahoma (again screwing the
• Land Rushes- late 1800’s
– “Stake your claim”
– “Oklahoma Sooners”
California Gold Rush-1849
1845- non-Indian population of Cal. Was 700 people
1850- 93,000
1860- 380,000
1849- Sutter’s Mill- near San Francisco
Difference between California and other Western migration
– California
– Single males
– Boom or bust
-the rest
-families/ starting farms
-long term settlements
Pacific Ocean
Giant size- population and land mass
Split US population- early statehood
Potential problem of statehood?