1.31 – Native Americans & the Conquest of the West


Library of Congress, “The American West: 1865-1900”

Smithsonian, Western Indian Wars (see here for photos of Native Americans)

Chief Joseph Speaks

Mountain Meadows Massacre

NB, Development of the West

Use these sources to answer the discussion questions. You are also welcome to conduct additional research.

Discussion questions

What economic benefits did the U.S. government believe the United States would gain by taking control of the West? 

What were some of the reasons that led white settlers to decide to move to the West? 

What was the westward journey like?

How did Native Americans respond to the influx of white settlers?

What actions did the Federal government take to spur settlement of the West by whites?

What were the conditions of life for other groups, beyond white men, in the West?

What were some of the consequences for the Western environment of white settlement?


Optional extra credit essay question (see syllabus for details):

How has the West been portrayed in American culture (books, movies, music), from the late 19th        century to the present? How have those portrayals and images changed over time? What are some famous books and movies about the West?


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