Social Studies - 2019-20

USII.4a - Causes and Effects of Westward Expansion

The student will apply social science skills to understand how life changed after the Civil War by

a) examining the reasons for westward expansion, including its impact on American Indians;

Adopted: 2015



New opportunities and technological advances led to westward migration following the Civil War.

Westward expansion had an impact on the lifestyle of American Indians.


Reasons for increase in westward expansion

 Opportunities for land ownership

 Technological advances, including the Transcontinental Railroad

 Possibility of obtaining wealth, created by the discovery of gold and silver

 Desire for adventure

 Desire for a new beginning for former enslaved African Americans

Impact on American Indians

 Opposition by American Indians to westward expansion (Battle of Little Bighorn, Geronimo)

 Forced relocation from traditional lands to reservations (Chief Joseph, Nez Percé, Sitting Bull)

 Reduced population through warfare (Battle of Wounded Knee), disease, and reduced buffalo population

 Assimilation attempts and lifestyle changes (American Indian boarding schools, Dawes Act)

 Reduced American Indian homelands through broken treaties


Updated: May 16, 2018