Human Value v.s. Enlarging a Nation

By Nancy Welcome

Gaining land most important?

Through American history the cost of enlarging a nation has been more important than keeping the value of human life. The talk of expanding to the west was mentioned in the mid 1840’s. The Native Americans were living out in the west making it hard for the whites to be able to keep expanding. The whites tried many things to be able to get the Indians to allow them to expand west. Native Americans did not want the whites taking their land and they refused to join the whites culture, so they put them in reservations. Expansion stopped being talked about because of the Civil War. In the 1860’s they resumed with the thought of expansion.

The Native Americans had many reasons as to why they did not want the whites on their land. First of all they didn’t want them on their land because the land was sacred to them. The whites would take the Native Americans and put them on reservations so they could take their land. Many of the Native Americans did not like this and refused to go on the reservations which resulted in the Native Americans and whites fighting. The whites would end up shooting all of the Native Americans killing them. Many Native Americans had gotten killed because of this, they did not want to change their cultural living style for the whites.

The Americans had many tricks up their sleeves to try and get the Native Americans to leave the lands. They wanted them to leave because the whites wanted to build a railroad out west and able to sell the land to settlers. In the beginning the whites told the Native Americans that if they left the lands they would give them food and supplies. Though the food and supplies given to the Native Americans was very poor and more or less the whites had ripped off the Native Americans. When that plan did not work they said the Native Americans could join with the whites and live like them. That involved changing their culture which meant dressing and picking a christian name. When not all of the Native Americans Agreed on this and did not pick a new name or dressed like the whites a new plan was formed. The first step was to split the land into 6 different regions and give 160 acres of land to each tribe, the extra land would be sold to the white settlers. The whites wanted the black hills for mining and to build railroads. When the Native Americans kept refusing the whites ended up going and killing a lot of them for the land.

The cost of enlarging the nation had became more important to people then the value of life. The whites had wanted the land out in the west so badly they would have killed anyone to get it. The Native Americans refused to change their way of living meaning they did not want to lie like the whites. The whites ended up forcing the Native Americans to join them or they would be killed.

Native Americans, Immigrants, Settlers, and Map of Oklahoma territory

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Westward Expansion Video

Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24

Work Cited

Hill, Ruth. N.d. “Chief Sitting Bull”. 16 Mar. 2016

< >16 Mar. 2016.

N.d. “ Former Indian Reservations Oklahoma”.

< >16 Mar. 2016.

N.d. “American Indian War”.

< >16 Mar. 2016.

N.d. “Native Americans”.

< >16 Mar. 2016.

N.d. < > 16 Mar. 2016.

December 29, 1890. “Wounded knee” < > 17 Mar. 2016.

N.d. < > 17 Mar. 2016.


“Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History #24”. online Video Clip. Stan Muller. Aug. 8, 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.