Westward Expansion By: Kaiden webb

What is the purpose of Westward Expansion?

The purpose of Westward Expansion is to try to make your family's wealth better. Or to try to get better farmland. Or just to explore to new places! At the time, people thought that the land beyond the Rocky Mountains was magical. They thought that crops grew all year, and that the farmland was amazing! That is the purpose of going to the west. However, to get to this land, there was a big risk that they would have to take. Would you be adventurous enough to travel to the west?

What was the interaction between settlers and natives?

There were some Native Americans that were kind to the American Settlers. Usually, those Native Americans traded with the American Settlers and let them pass through their land. However, there were also Native Americans that were not exactly kind to the American Settlers. Usually, they took the American's cattle or their horses. Sometimes, the Native Americans got so upset that the American Settlers were crossing their land that they would fight them and not necessarily give them safe passage. So, you can either safely pass Native territory, or you could end up fighting the Native Americans to get through their land.

Pros & Cons of Westward Expansion

Pros: -You could gain a lot of wealth. -You could gain better farmland. -You could gain gold (in California).

Cons: -You could get diseases on the way to your destination (cholera and malaria). -You could have family members die. -You could get stuck in mud, or the ground could be too dry.

How was daily life different on the trail?

Daily life was very different on the trail. For children, you would still do school, but you would have your parents or older sibling teach you. You would still have to do chores as well. However, instead of you doing housekeeping chores, you would have different chores for your entire family to do. For example, milking the cows, fetching water, watching cattle, cooking food, washing dishes, skinning animals, collecting buffalo chips, drying blankets and quilts, and hanging jerky to dry. Those are just some of the jobs that you would have to do just about every day. Of course, you could still have fun on the trip, but in different ways than how you would usually have fun. Also, there were a few ways to send letters and receive them, so you could still communicate with others. Daily life was much harder on the trail.

What was the territory like?

The territory that the American Settlers had to travel on was difficult. They had to cross mountains, and some very big hills. Sometimes, you had to borrow other family's oxen to help you travel up a high mountain! When you were up the hill, you would have to send the oxen back down the hill, and to the next family. You also had to be cautious while going down steep slopes. When a wagon was going down a slope, you would have to put poles through the wheels to keep it from rolling down the mountain and breaking! They would also tie the wagon to a rope and have some people tie the other end to a rock or a tree. Then, the people would have to slowly loosen the rope from the tree. Sometimes, pioneers would have to cut their wagons down so that the wagon is only a cart and wheels! You have to be very careful bringing a wagon through terrains.

What did a covered wagon look like?

A covered wagon is a wagon with a white cloth covering piece. The cloth was called canvas. The American Settlers covered the wagon in oil to make it waterproof. The wagon was stretched over gigantic wooden hoops that had been bent from one side of the covered wagon to the other. There were drawstrings in the front and the back of the covered wagon's canvas. If the strings were pulled tightly, then you could close the ends of the canvas to protect the wagon from bad weather. A cool feature of the wagon's canvas is that you can roll it up! The bottom part of the covered wagon looked like a normal wagon, but the front wheels were longer than the back wheels! This was because with the small front wheels, you could make sharper turns. Inside the wagon, there were hooks that you could hang things up. On the back of the wagon, was a hook for a bucket full of grease. The grease would need to be rubbed on the wagon's wheels so that the wagon could turn smoothly. On the front of the wagon, there was a wooden board for sitting. The covered wagon was usually pulled by oxen. However, you could also pull it with horses or mules. That is what a covered wagon looks like.

How did people know where to go?

It was not easy for the pioneers to know where they were going. However, there are places to stop where you can figure out where you are going. Sometimes, pioneers had to use trees, rocks, or watering holes to know where they were going. You also could look for landmarks. For example Chimney Rock, Independence Rock, Soda Springs, Steamboat Springs, and Devil's Backbone. That was usually how you knew where you were going!

One Interesting Fact

Usually, the best time to start your trip was in May! This is because if you started too early, then the spring rains would have made an insane amount of mud for you to travel through. Also, your oxen, cattle, horses, or mules would not have enough grass to eat. If you started too late, then you would have to travel in snow.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.