Here are some Web sites to help teachers and students explore
the theme of Westward expansion in the United States.
Lewis and Clark is one of the programs used for the Digital Classroom Project. The companion Web site from PBS includes information about all members of the Corps of Discovery that made the famous journey west, as well as an 1803-1838 timeline of events.
New Perspectives on the West, which focuses on expansion in western North America, is the companion Web site for The West, another PBS program being studied in the Digital Classroom Project. It provides information on the people, places, and events that shaped the West, including a biographical dictionary, an interactive map, and a timeline.
Territorial Expansion of the United States 1783-1898 is a collection of interactive maps from the University of Oregon OSSHE Historical and Cultural Atlas Resource.
A collection of U.S. Territorial Maps: 1775-1920 is offered at this University of Virginia American Studies Web site.
The Northwest Ordinance, from the PBS series Liberty, explains the significance of this law. Scroll down to 1787 and click on Northwest Ordinance.
The Cumberland Gap National Historic Site traces the history of the first overland route to the West. Follow the "In Depth" link to find more information on Westward Expansion (use the text links at the bottom of the "Chronometron" page).
Taming the Wilderness: Rivers, Roads, Canals and Railroads, from the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, examines early U.S. transportation systems and their effects on commerce and settlement.
A digitized copy of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty from the National Archives is available here.
The Avalon Project at Yale University supplies the full text of the Louisiana Purchase and related documents.
Go West Across America with Lewis and Clark is an interactive adventure for primary students from the National Geographic Society.
The University of Virginia hypertext project provides the complete Journals of Lewis and Clark.
The Life of Sacagawea, from the U.S. Mint, supplies information about Sacagawea's life and discusses why she was honored on the gold dollar coin.
The Peabody Museum's Ethnography of Lewis and Clark features photographs and detailed descriptions of objects the explorers collected as they studied the material culture of Native American tribal groups.
A professor of history at the University of Montana created Discovering Lewis and Clark, an interactive Web site illustrated with selections from the journals of the expedition, photographs, maps, animated graphics, moving pictures, and sound files.
The Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery site from the National Park Service features a complex interactive map of the U.S. on which different features such as Native American tribes, exploration routes and rivers can be revealed or hidden. A compass and telescope allow detailed exploration of the resulting maps. The site also provides detailed timelines, information about the members of the Corps of Discovery and the journey, and a summary of other events and people in Westward Expansion. Activities for younger children and lesson plans for pre-K through 7 teachers are included.
New York State Canals presents The Erie Canal: A Brief History. The site describes how the Canal spurred the first great westward movement of American settlers and includes a 1925 account of the history of the Erie Canal and the "lateral" canals as well as current maps.
The National Park Service provides this history of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Railroad Maps: 1828-1920 features maps from the Library of Congress that illustrate the growth of travel and settlement, as well as the development of industry and agriculture, in the United States.
Union Pacific Railroad History provides an overview of the planning, financing, and construction of this part of the transcontinental railroad.
Driving the Last Spike from the Museum of the City of San Francisco gives a brief history of the linking of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways in 1869.
The Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum provides many photographs, stereoviews, engravings, maps, and documents illustrating the history of the first transcontinental railroad. The site is run by the family of one of the principal engineers for the CPPR during the building of the transcontinental track.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the 1838 forced removal of the Cherokee from their home lands. The National Park Service provides information and a map of the trail, as well as detailed maps of the nine states the trail passes through (click on the Trail of Tears).
The Cherokee Nation History pages provide a brief history of the Trail of Tears as well as other historical events and people.
John G. Burnett's Story of the Trail of Tears is a letter from a private in the U.S. Army who acted as an interpreter during the removal action. This primary source document is provided by the Cherokee Messenger.
Africans in America: Westward Expansion, from PBS, explores the impact on African Americans of westward expansion from 1831-1865.
The National Park Service supplies information on African American pioneers during the Reconstruction Period at the Nicodemus National Historic Site Web Site.
The Fort Scott National Historic Site narrates the history of U.S. expansion from 1842-1853, including information on Manifest Destiny, Railroad Expansion, the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War.
The Oregon Trail furnishes information about trail history, discoverers and explorers, life along the trail, and more. This site, from the producers of the Oregon Trail documentary, includes interactive state maps and a collection of full-text, period documents such as diaries and memoirs.
The National Park Service provides teachers' guides on the Whitman Mission and a history of behind Marcus and Narcissa Whitman's epic journey.
The Route to Hell is an interactive map of the route of the ill-fated Donner Party from the PBS American Experience series.
Trail of Hope: The Story of the Mormon Trail, from PBS, features stories and photographs.
Women Pioneers in American Memory is a collection of links to Library of Congress documents and photographs.
The U.S.-Mexican War provides a visual timeline of the war and a discussion area, along with information about the PBS documentary it supports.
The Fort Larned National Historic Site was a base of U.S. military operations against Central Plains Indians, established to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail. This National Park Service Web site provides information about the Santa Fe Trail and the Indian Wars period in the West.
The Pony Express is described in this site from the Museum of the City of San Francisco. Learn more at the Pony Express National Historic Trail site.
The Homestead National Monument of America site from the National Park Service explores the impact of the Homestead Act of 1862 on westward expansion.
The Library of Congress explores the Homestead Act in this page from its This Day in History series.
The Nez Perce War of 1877 is explored at the Big Hole National Battlefield Web site from the National Park Service.
Gold Rush! from the Oakland Museum provides history, photographs, and interactive activities, as well as lesson plans.
PBS supplies a short history in this companion Web site to the documentary The Gold Rush.
Students created this site, Our Gold Country Community, to trace how the gold rush of l849 attracted the global community to Nevada County, California.
Last updated 05/11/2011