Social Studies - 2018-19
VUS.8a - Westward Movement
The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by
a) explaining the westward movement of the population in the United States, with emphasis on the role of the railroads, communication systems, admission of new states to the Union, and the impact on American Indians;
Unit Essential Questions
Is there one American Experience?
To what extent does the American economy shape the American experience?
How do people affect change in their society?
UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD
New technologies, innovations, and government policies led to a new wave of internal and international migration and growth.
This growth, while positive for some, resulted in more displacement for American Indians.
Following the Civil War, the westward movement of settlers intensified in the vast region between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean.
The years immediately before and after the Civil War were the era of the American cowboy, marked by long cattle drives for hundreds of miles over unfenced open land in the West, which was the only way to get cattle to market.
Many Americans had to rebuild their lives after the Civil War. They responded to the incentive of free public land and moved west to take advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862, which gave free public land in the western territories to settlers who would live on and farm the land.
Southerners, including African Americans in particular, moved west to seek new opportunities after the Civil War.
New technologies such as the railroads, telegraph, telephone, and mechanical reaper opened new lands in the West for settlement and made farming profitable by increasing the efficiency of production and linking resources and markets. By the turn of the century, the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions of the American West were no longer a mostly unsettled frontier, but were fast becoming regions of farms, ranches, and towns.
The forcible removal of the American Indians from their lands continued throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century as settlers continued to move west following the Civil War.
Terms & Events
Homestead Act of 1862
Old (pre-1871) and New Immigration (1871-1921)
Statue of Liberty
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
Immigration Restriction Act (1921)
Bessemer steel process
Poles, Slavs and Italians
Alexander Graham Bell
John D. Rockefeller
New York City
Industrial Cities: Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York