Westward Expansion at Its Impact on Native Americans


across the continen

Study this image. What do you see? Moreover, who do see? What and who don’t you see?

When studying the expansion of the United States after the writing of the Constitution, we often focus on the legislative and technological timeline that allowed for the country to expand to the Pacific. We’re compelled to root for the pioneers and brave groups pushing westward into the “wilderness.” Occasionally brief skirmishes with Native Americans interrupt the step-by-step journey across the plains, over the Rockies and onto the coast. Yet every experience seems new and fresh.

These westward lands had inhabitants, however. These Native Nations had lived in these lands for thousands of years. The introduction of foreigners, both Americans and the earlier Spanish, had tremendous impacts on the various Native American Nation’s lives and futures. The impact of Westward expansion on Native Americans expands student’s understandings of United States history.

Image Title: “Across the Continent: Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way.”
Creator(s): Currier & Ives: F. (Fanny) Palmer
Date: 1868
Part Of: “Prints and Photographs Reading Room: Prints and Photographs Division” – Library of Congress.
Online Resource URL: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.03213/
ARC Identifier: 03213


Introduction to Kit:

With the documents and Images contained in this Doc Box, students can inquire, investigate and create documentaries exploring expansion and the impact on Native Americans. With the detailed documents describing the general view of Native Americans during this era, we gain a deeper understanding of the image above.



A partnership between the College of William & Mary School of Education, the University of Kentucky College of Education,
and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program