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Western Expansion

The Teach Tennessee History website is designed to assist teachers in implementing the 2015 Tennessee State Social Studies Standards.  Please use the menu links to the left to access the following resources for Western Expansion:

ETHS Teaching Materials:  Click on ETHS Teaching Materials to find student-friendly essays and classroom activities developed by ETHS staff.  The essays and activities are designed based on the Tennessee Social Studies Standards. The downloadable teacher packets also include primary sources and images when available.

ETHS Articles:  Click on ETHS Articles to find articles from ETHS publications to enrich your content knowledge and supplement textbook resources.

Additional Resources: Click on Additional Resources to find additional activites and links to useful websites.


Standards 8.89,8.91-8.98

Westward Expansion after the Civil War (1865-1890)

Students analyze the social, political, and economic transformation of America as a result of westward expansion.

8.89 Describe the push-pull effect in the movement of former slaves to the North and West, including the Exodusters and Pap Singleton. (C, E, G, H, TN)

8.91 Explain patterns of agricultural and industrial development after the Civil War as they relate to climate, use of natural resources, markets and trade and the location of such development on a map. (E, G)

8.92 Trace the evolution of federal policies toward American Indians, including movement to reservations; assimilation, boarding schools, wars with Indians (Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee), and the impact of the railroad and settlement patterns of pioneers, Buffalo Soldiers (George Jordan), and the Dawes Act. (C, E, G, H, P, TN)

8.93 Explain the significance of various American Indian leaders, including: (H) Crazy Horse Geronimo Sitting Bull Chief Joseph

8.94 Explain the impact of the Homestead Act. (E, H, P)

8.95 Analyze how significant inventors and their inventions, including barbed wire, the six shooter, windmills, sod housing, and the steel plow changed life in the West. (C, E, H, P)

8.96 Trace the expansion and development of the Transcontinental Railroad, including the Golden Spike event (1869), and the role that Chinese immigrant laborers (Central Pacific track) and Irish immigrant laborers (Union Pacific track) played in its construction. (C, E, G, P)

8.97 Examine the development and life of the iconic American cowboy, including his skills, clothes and daily life and work. (C, H)

8.98 Explain the concepts of the Open Range, Long Drive and cow towns in the development of the American ranching industry. (E, G, H)

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from A Century of Dishonor, Helen Hunt Jackson. 

Standard 5.30-5.33

5.30 Write an argumentative piece from the viewpoint of American Indians and the viewpoint of American settlers about their rights to the land west of the Mississippi River.

5.31 Analyze the appeal of the Great Plains to settlers and immigrants, including geographical factors, railroads, homesteading rights, and the absence of American Indians. (G, H)

5.32 Describe the role of Buffalo soldiers in settling the West, including Tennessee native George Jordan.

5.33 Write a short piece with concrete words, phrases, and sensory details of the life on the Great Plains from the viewpoint of a particular immigrant or migrant group. (C, G, H)

Standard US.3

US.3 Explain the impact of the Hayes-Tilden Presidential election of 1876 and the end of Reconstruction on African Americans, including Jim Crow laws, lynching, disenfranchisement methods, efforts of Pap Singleton and the Exodusters. (C, H, P, TN)