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Study Guide for Social Studies: Westward Expansion (Answer Key)


SC State Social Studies Standards: 5-2.1 Analyze the geographic and economic factors that influenced westward expansion and the ways that these factors affected travel and settlement, including physical features of the land; the climate and natural resources; and land ownership and other economic opportunities. 5-2.2 Summarize how technologies such as railroads, the steel plow and barbed wire, federal policies such as subsidies for the railroads and the Homestead Act, and access to natural resources affected the development of the West. 5-2.3 Identify examples of conflict and cooperation between occupational and ethnic groups in the West, including miners, farmers, ranchers, cowboys, Mexican and African Americans, and European and Asian immigrants. 5-2.4 Explain the social and economic effects of westward expansion on Native Americans, including opposing views on land ownership, Native American displacement, the impact of the railroad on the culture of the Plains Indians, armed conflict, and changes in federal policy.

Vocabulary: *It is not essential to memorize the definitions; just be able to understand the words and use them correctly! 1. climate the average weather of a region 2. terrain land features 3. drought an extended period of no rain 4. scarce insufficient to satisfy needs; not easily available 5. mechanical reaper an invention of the 1830s that helped farmers harvest their crops more quickly 6. steel plow -- the 1837 invention of John Deere that helped farmers turn over their difficult land more easily 7. subsidy extra money provided by the government or another organization to help 8. Homestead Act the Act Congress passed in 1862 that gave citizens and immigrants 160 acres of land if they paid a small amount and stayed on the land to farm for a minimum of 5 years 9. industry a business activity, usually characterized by trade, manufacturing, and technologies 10. conflict a problem. It can be internal, meaning in someones mind, or external, between man vs. nature, man vs. man, or man vs. animal. 11. ethnic group a group of people who share the same culture 12. immigrant a person who moves into a country from another country 1

13. displacement -- being forced to move from your home 14. assimilate -- to become like those around you 15. culture the behaviors and beliefs of a particular ethnic group; a way of life

Study Guide Questions: 1. List two major mountain ranges, 2 major rivers, and 1 desert that affected travel to the West, and explain how they affected travel. Mountain Ranges Rocky Mountains rough terrain, cold climate Sierra Nevada Mountains rough terrain, cold climate in Winter Rivers Columbia River difficult to cross Colorado River -- difficult to cross Mississippi River-- difficult to cross Snake River-- difficult to cross Desert Painted Desert very little water, extreme temperatures (cold at night, hot during the day) 2. What were some of the challenges people faced while moving to the West? Crossing rivers and mountains, impassable trails, lack of water, extreme heat or cold 3. How did travelers become familiar with the trails leading them to the West? Many of the trails were old Native American trails that had been traveled and mapped by mountain men and explorers. As time passed, the trails became more traveled and easier to follow. 4. How did the mining industry affect the boom-bust cycle of towns in the West? Prospectors competed with one another and often created a lawless society. A mining company would start mining, which would draw people coming for jobs. A city would sprout up, called a boom town. Once the natural resources were depleted, people would depart from the town, creating a ghost town.

5. Why did others discriminate against the Chinese workers? They were recruited to build the Transcontinental RR from the West. They were discriminated against because of their looks and their culture, given the most dangerous jobs, and paid less money than whites. After the railroad was built, the Chinese competed with white men for jobs in mining and service jobs in boom towns. There was prejudice against the Chinese. Finally, the government passed a law in 1882 excluding the Chinese from entering the U.S. as immigrants (Chinese Exclusion Act). 2

6. What was the effect of Westward Expansion on Mexican Americans? Many of the Mexican landowners lost their lands in Texas (which used to be a part of Mexico), as settlers came through and claimed land for ranching or farming. Some were cowboys (vaqueros) and helped to train the ranchers and cowboys of America. 7. What were some of the challenges people faced while living in the West? On the Great Plains, the challenges were: building sod houses because of no trees, new tools to plow through tough soil, figuring out irrigation due to dry climate, hot, dry summers, drought, dust storms, insect swarms, snow in winter, Spring floods, storms, tornadoes, unpredictable weather. The Great Plains were called The Great American Desert because the climate was so dry. 8. How did railroads affect the following things? TravelThe government used funds (subsidies) to help buy lands for the railroad companies. Then, the companies encouraged travel by RR because it was faster and easier. TradeMade trade faster and easier, ranchers could get their cattle to the east to sell more quickly Raw materials were shipped east to manufacturing plants; livestock were shipped east to meat packing plants; agricultural products (crops) were transported to the east that were grown in the west. EnvironmentPolluted the environment, destruction of buffalo, use of coal to run the RR engines led to more mining, and by-products from mining companies polluted air and water. 9. How did the invention of new technologies affect people in the West? Steel plow helped farmers plow up difficult sod Mechanical reaper helped farmers harvest their crops and produce more Telegraph helped people communicate faster Transcontinental Railroad (see question #8) Barbed wire- wire fencing made with barbs twisted every few inches to keep livestock from roaming 10. How did people moving to and living in the West affect the environment? Pollution from mining and new railroads, destruction of the buffalo, overfarming and overgrazing of the soil 11. How did Westward Expansion affect Native Americans? Include the varying opinions about land ownership. What were the Federal policies that affected Native Americans? The Homestead Act, the mass killing of buffalo, and the completion of the Transcontinental RR caused the decline of the Plains Indians. Many Native Americans were forced to move onto small reservations when they were kicked out of their homeland and the buffalo population was hunted by the whites. Laws made their religious practices illegal and took away their land. They lost their homeland and their way of life. These acts violated those beliefs and the traditions of hunting that had sustained Native American culture for centuries. Dawes Act: made American Indians farmers (not part of their culture), which split up reservation land. Other Laws: made Native American religious practices (like the Ghost Dance) illegal. 3

12. What were some of the reasons people had for moving to the West? Gold Rush, mining for mineral resources, cheap land provided by the Homestead Act of 1862 (gave free land to settlers who were head of family, 25 years old, and a U.S. Citizen), chance for more freedom for African Americans 13. Explain the role of the following groups of people during Westward Expansion: a. Miners first group to move West, initially in search of Gold, and then to work for companies that were mining other resources b. Immigrants (Chinese and European) Irish Immigrants helped to build the Transcontinental railroad from the East, Chinese Immigrants helped to build the Transcontinental railroad from the West, other European immigrants settled land in the Wes c. Farmers/Homesteaders began settling and farming the land of the West; They made money off the crops they grew and sold for profit. d. Mexican Americans got lands taken away from them, vaqueros helped teach the American cowboys how to herd cattle e. Ranchers/Cowboys -- ranchers settled the land of the West, raising cows and other animals. Cowboys helped to drive these animals to the railheads, where the animals were shipped back East to market. f. African Americans -- had a variety of roles. Became Homesteaders and cowboys, as well as Buffalo Soldiers, who helped to police the West, including driving Native Americans into reservations. 14. During the Westward Expansion, there were conflicts between different groups of people. Some were resolved and some were not. Tell how the following groups interacted with each other in a negative way. a. Cowboys vs. Homesteaders Ranchers and cowboys tromped over the farms of the homesteaders with their cattle, so the homesteaders started putting up barbed wire to keep ranchers and their cattle out of the farms. b. Homesteaders vs. Native Americans The homesteaders set up their farms on land belonging to the Native Americans, so many conflicts arose between the two groups. c. Ranchers vs. Native Americans The ranchers tromped through the land belonging to the Native Americans, so many conflicts arose between the two groups. Ranchers also helped eliminate the buffalo population, which Native Americans used as a food source. d. American Miners vs. European/Asian Immigrants Miners from the U.S. didnt like the immigrants taking their jobs, and immigrants didnt like that the U.S. miners were being paid more.