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Westward Expansion primary resources quest


We are studying the events of Western Expansion which include the Lewis and Clark expedition, pioneers westward migration, the Oregon Trail, the Sante Fe Trail, the Gold Rush, and the building of the transcontinental railroad. They also include such tragic events for Native Americans as the Trail of Tears, and the massacre at Wounded Knee.

Which cultural groups participated in your historical event? Find a primary source with evidence.

Where and when did your historical event take place? Find a primary source with evidence.

What parts of their culture did they bring with them to the western states? Think in terms of culture: beliefs, religion, daily lifestyle, food, languages, and traditions like holidays. Find a primary source with evidence.

What Native American or Mexican cultures were living in those western territories when the western expansion took place in the mid to late 1800s? Find a primary source with evidence.

Use a new search tool called Shmoop–just for students to find great photos, websites, books, and more! They have guides for researching the California Gold Rush, the Alamo, and the Lewis & Clark expedition, the West, and the Transcontinental Railroad. It is a great site–can’t wait to share it in person!

For the best primary sources on the Pony Express, try Denver Public Library’s Digital Collections.

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