With the end of the Civil War, Americans again turned their attention to the West. During the war, Congress had passed the Homestead Act which gave 160 acres of free land to any citizen who promised to live on and improve the land for at least five years. Thousands of Americans, many of whom were recent immigrants, rushed to take advantage of this offer.

Other Americans, however, had begun to move into the western territories long before the Civil War. The thrill of adventure, the opportunity for profit, the lure of gold, the promise of land, or the simple freedom of wide-open spaces drew people westward.

In 1800 the land that would become the American West lay waiting, occupied only by small groups of Native Americans. By 1900, all but two of the western territories had achieved statehood and the Bureau of the Census had declared the frontier "closed." The purpose of this study will be to learn who went west, why they went west, and the effects of their going west on those who were already there.

Due Dates
  1. The Mining Frontier
  2. The Cattle Kingdom
  3. Homesteaders Settle the Plains
  4. The Growth of Railroads
  5. Changes in Technology
  6. The End of a Way of Life

  • Bonus Activities for Extra Credit!  You may not do these activities until you have completed Activities 1-7 above!
Your "Memoir" is due Wednesday, October 15.
Alternative Activity answers or packet are also due Wednesday, October 15.
Culminating Activity Essays due Monday, October 20
  • The grade you receive for these essays will count as the quiz for this unit of study!



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Plan B