Westward expansion

Trails West

Settlers started moving west as soon as the land by the eastern rivers was claimed.  Wanting the right to expand into more territory was one of the factors in the American Revolution, including anger at the Proclamation of 1763 that restricted further settlement. Indeed, many veterans of the Revolution received land grants in the west for their service.  In the late 1700s to the early 1800s, the West could mean Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of Pennsylvania. As those places filled up, too, and immigrants kept on coming, they eventually spread across the plains and into the heartland.

Westward Ho! Eleven Explorers of the West

By Charlotte Foltz Jones

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Biographies of: Robert Gray (1755-1806) -- George Vancouver (1757-1798) -- Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820) -- John Colter (1774 or 1775-1813) -- Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813) -- Stephen Harriman Long (1784-1864) -- James Bridger (1804-1881) -- Jedediah Smith (1799-1831) -- Joseph Reddeford Walker (1798-1876) -- John C. Fremont (1813-1890) -- John Wesley Powell (1834-1902).

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West by Covered Wagon: Retracing the Pioneer Trails

By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

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"A modern-day wagon train journey is interwoven with fascinating facts about the harsh realities of a wagon train passage across the prairie one hundred years ago."
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Wagon Train: A Family Goes West in 1865

By Courtni C. Wright

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"Wright details the experiences and hardships faced by Ginny, a young African American girl, and her family as they travel west from Virginia to California in 1865. Unwelcome on the big wagon trains departing from Independence, Missouri, Ginny's family must form its own group of newly freed friends and relatives. They endure snakebites, drought, broken wagon wheels, extreme temperatures, and treacherous mountains before finally reaching California. In keeping with the picture-book format, Wright includes no maps and mentions no famous landmarks, concentrating instead on a few episodes in the fictional journey."--Booklist

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Singing Our Way West: Songs and Stories from America's Westward Expansion

By Jerry Silverman

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Gathers songs about the Cumberland Gap, the Erie Canal, the Mississippi, the Alamo, the Gold Rush, and the Old Chisholm Trail.

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The Pony Express

By Laurel van der Linde

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"Surveys the history of the Pony express, from its creation at the time of the Gold Rush to its demise at the start of the Civil War. Includes profiles of famous riders. "
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Pioneer Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes

By David C. King

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"Join twelve-year-old Sam Butler and his nine-year-old sister, Liz, on the American frontier in 1843. Discover the hard work, fun, and adventure of their daily lives, and along the way learn how to play games, make toys and crafts, and perform everyday activities just like Liz and Sam. You can make your own homemade soda pop and cook up a batch of johnnycakes. Use clay to create your own pottery and design a string of African trade beads, or learn the Native American art of sandpainting. You can even make your own holiday decorations out of dough or pinecones--if you're not too busy playing tangram, a Chinese puzzle game, or a beanbag target game. Pioneer Days is filled with interesting bits of historical information and fun facts about growing up in days gone by. Discover how different--and how similar--life was for American kids in history."

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The Oregon Trail

By R. Conrad Stein

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Follows a group of families as they make their way west along the famous Oregon Trail.
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A Multicultural Portrait of the Move West

By Petra Press

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"Press tells the story from the point of view of all the people who lived there, including how and why they came, what kind of communities they built, their courage and their failure. Some of the political and military detail is dry, but the discussion is lively, especially the debunking of myths ("The first Europeans in the American West were neither conquerors nor explorers. They were merely lost"). The impassioned account of the forced removals and relocations of the various Indian nations describes the horrific loss of life, of home, and of cultural identity that made the survivors refugees in their own land. The type is small, but it's broken up with many illustrations and sidebars."
--Booklist

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A Frontier Fort on the Oregon Trail

By Scott Steedman

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Step inside a 19th century frontier fort and discover for yourself what life was like for the pioneers of the American West. Dramatic cutaway illustrations provide a vivid insight into the challenges they faced:

  • travel westward with a wagon train of pioneers seeking new land to settle;
  • watch the fort being built in rugged terrain;
  • spend a day with a soldier, see his uniform and his equipment;
  • visit an Indian encampment, and learn how they lived;
  • find out about the traders, carrying basic necessities from fort to fort;
  • discover how skilled trappers worked;
  • witness the coming of the Pony Express, Wells Fargo, and the railroad;
  • learn about the daily life of the pioneers;
  • find out what happened to the forts after the West was "won".

(Amazon review)

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