Study Guide 2

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; marking property
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. 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. New technologies led to people seeing 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.
Therefore, he battled with the much smaller
United States army and won decisively.
2. Geronimo: a leader of American Indians in the
Southwest, refused to go to a reservation and
sought justice from settlers in the southwest.
This led to his captured. He became famous
because of the stories of his bravery.
3. Chief Joseph: leader of the Nez Perce tribe, he
brought his people to Canada rather than be
forced onto a reservation. Because he did not
want to see his people die of cold and
starvation, he ultimately surrendered.
Different Views on Land
Western Settlers believe that
land can be bought, sold and
Due to the fact that Native
Americans believe that land is
given by the Great Spirit and
is loaned, it is not owned by
anyone and can never be
sold. They believed they
settling in one place would
cause them to grow pale and
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