• The American West

    The American West

  • 1

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Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the economic and social changes occurring in the West during this era and how these changes were connected to the rest of America.
  2. Explain why people moved into the West and how they coped with the conditions they faced.
  3. Explain how American Indians responded to their plight.
  4. Analyze the attempts to assimilate American Indians and to displace Mexican Americans living in the West.
  5. Assess the legacy of the transformation of the West.

The Promised Land

Historians discuss connections between developments in the West and national industrial growth in the late nineteenth century.

Download the transcript of The Promised Land


Lesson Focus Points

Look for answers to these questions as you study the lesson:

  • What characterized mining operations and the lives of mine workers in the West?
  • Who comprised the diverse peoples of the West? What tensions existed among these people? How were these tensions expressed?
  • What characterized the operations of territorial government in the West?
  • Who were the "Exodusters?" Why did tenancy, sharecropping, and migrant farm labor become common in the West?
  • Why did the number of farms increase during this era? Why did the percentage of the American population who were rural decrease?
  • Who was Chief Joseph? How did he express the plight of the American Indians? How did the Apache tribes and Geronimo carry on with resistance?
  • What was life like for white Americans living on the Great Plains?
  • What was the role of commercial interests and speculators in closing the American frontier?
  • How did the loss of land affect the cultural identities of Native and Mexican Americans?