Westward Movement

Watch American Grow

Westward Expansion and Its Impact on Slavery

Near the beginning of the 1800's, the United States acquired new lands

West of the Mississippi River. Explorers like Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, and Zebulon Pike paved the way for pioneers to move westward. This expansion caused harm to Native Americans, and impacted the institution of slavery.

Zebulon Pike

Manifest Destiny

Americans began to justify their westward expansion with the idea of Manifest Destiny, a God given right to expand and claim lands from coast to coast, or from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

This painting ( 1872) by John Gast called American Progress. Here Columbia, a personification of the United States, leads westward with American settlers. She holds a school book as well. The different stages of pioneer travelers are seen, as well as the changing forms of transportation.

United States Land Acquisitions

Click on the website below and watch how the United States grew from 13 colonies to 50 states!


The Indian Removal Act

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was a law passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Andrew Jackson. It provided land and money the president could use to make treaties with Native Americans. Native Americans were asked to move west, but if they resisted, the government would take their lands by force. The Cherokee Nation attempted to live in harmony with the American settlers and adopted their American customs. They tried to resist removal by taking their case to the Supreme Court. Although the court ruled that the Cherokee had a right to their land, President Andrew Jackson ignored the court. He used the army to force the Cherokee to move from their homes across the Mississippi River to Oklahoma, the Indian territory, on what is called the Trail of Tears.