Westward Movement

American History before 1877

The Way West

  Fur traders lead the way

­ Explore and map the land

­ Establish trading posts, guide settlers moving west

­ Intermarry with Indians & bridge the two societies


Indian removal

  Indians caught in impossible situation

­ Whites continually moving onto their land

­ Resistance is futile; government & army powerless or hostile

  Land exchange: land given up for lands out west


Moving west

  By water if possible

  By wagon, horse, or foot

  Life on the trail



  Surveying the land

  Auctioning the land to speculators

  Selling the land to settlers

Yankees from New England

  Best-organized migrants

­ State-chartered companies

  Model of the Puritan township

­ Long house lots, separate farmland, commons, Congregational Church

Yankee Towns

  Quickly establish church, school, often a college

  Straight roads; neat frame houses; well-tended fields

  Productive and market-minded

Individualism Rises

  Land distributed in square blocks

­ Survey grid ignores natural features

­ Grid encourages scattered residence on farms

­ Congregational churches underfunded, undermanned, outcompeted by Baptists and Methodists


  Jointly administered by U.S. and Britain

  British turn settlers southward into Willamette Valley

  Americans eye harbor in the Puget Sound (Seattle)


  First American settlers: mainly New Englanders

­ California “wasted” by Mexicans; Americans should take it

  Two of the best ports on the West Coast

­ San Francisco

­ San Diego


  Mexico invites settlement, 1822

  Empresarios: given land in exchange for bringing settlers

­ 3 requirements for settlement

­ Convert to Catholicism

­ Trade within Mexico

­ Slavery prohibited

­ All three widely ignored

  Intermittent attempts to halt immigration

­ Anglos keep coming