The Westward Movement

Follow the expanding American nation as it explores, then settles the West.

Africans in America: Westward Expansion
As Americans moved west, the slavery problem followed them. This PBS site does a good job of putting it all in perspective.

Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone is one of America's most famous explorers. He is perhaps more well-known for fictional accounts of his life and actions than for things that he actually did. Still, his accomplishments were significant.

The Cumberland Gap
The Cumberland Gap was a main point of travel through the Appalachian Mountains for a great many American settlers heading west in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.

The Wilderness Road
The Wilderness Road was a major route of travel for American settlers heading west for several decades in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.

The Cumberland (National) Road
As the United States expanded in the early 19th Century by moving west, settlers found the need to build roads to help facilitate travel of more and more people. One of the first well-known federal roads was the Cumberland Road, also known as the National Road. In fact, it was the country's first federal highway, early in the century termed the "Main Street of America."

The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal was one of America's most famous waterways.

The Canal Age
Find out more about the Erie Canal and other water transportation routes around 19th Century America.

Prairie Schooners
Find out just how these huge wagons were able to travel such long distances while carrying so much.

The California Gold Rush
The discovery of gold in California in the mid-19th Century ushered in one of the largest migrations in American history, as tens of thousands of hopeful, excited, and just plain desperate participated in the California Gold Rush. < The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Learn more about this famous land act that really didn't solve the problem of slavery at all.

Westward Expansion
Great site gives you a good overview of the movement West.

The Homestead Act of 1862
An explanation of the importance of the famous land act. Includes text of the act.

Black History: Missouri Compromise
See how this famous Congressional act affected not only white people but also black people.

Mountain Men: Pathfinders of the West
Read about the men who carved out paths to the newly discovered western territory.

Jim Bridger: Mountain Man
Read more about this famous explorer and trapper.

">"Kit" Carson
Find out more about this famous explorer, trapper, and Western legend.

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Social Studies for Kids
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David White