Westward Expansion and Its Impact on Native Americans

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The Louisiana Purchase

An excerpt from the agreement to purchase the Louisiana territory, April 30, 1803

An accurate map of North America, 1767.

This map displays North America at the time of the Louisiana Purchase.

Joint Resolution for annexing Texas to the United States

This resolution of the Republic of Texas further increased the United States land holding in western North America.

The Oregon Treaty

This treaty established the international boundary between western United States territories and British Canada.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

This treaty ended the United States war with Mexico. It established boundaries between Mexico and the United States. It also provided the U.S. the territories that would later become the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Homestead Act

This act is possible for many Americans to settle in the western states and territories.

Joint Pacific Railway Act (excerpt)

This document outlines the resources and manner in which both railways and telegraph lines would spread across the United States, all the way to Pacific.

A Map of the Union Pacific Railroads

This map displays the extent to which the railways spread across the west.

Fort Laramie Treaty (excerpt)

This agreement between the United States government and the Lakota Nation of Native Americans attempted to eliminate conflict between the two groups of people. Additionally, portions of the treaty outline plans of the US government to introduce European American lifestyles into the Native American reservations.

Ho! for Coffeyville, Kansas!

This poster was typical of the time. It hoped to lure potential settlers west. With the passage of the Homestead Act, and similar provisions, the United States government hoped for people moving west.

President Chester Arthur’s Indian Policy Reform

This speech to Congress revealed an official shift in the “Indian policy” of United States government. It discusses a movement away from treaties and attempts to deal with Native Americans as if they are a separate nation. As stated, the former policies had been, “encouraging (Native Americans) to live a savage life, undisturbed by any earnest and well-directed efforts to bring them under the influences of civilization.” Arthur continues with his administration’s plans to limit the land given to Native American nations and how to ensure the “civilization” of these groups.

A report from U.S. Indian Agent, S. G. Colley

This report by an agent of the United States government, assigned to oversee American policy in the Western states and territories. He describes an attack on “friendly Indians”.

A report from Santana, Chief of the Kiowas

This quote describes the perspective of a Native American chief on American Westward expansion.

A report from John Wesley Powell.

This report reflects the shift in US “Indian Policy” towards schools, husbandry, and housing in order to assimilate Native Americans to European American civilization.

Chief Joseph's surrender to General Nelson A. Miles

Chief Joseph spoke these words upon his surrender to General Nelson and the United States government. As Chief of the Nez Perce, he had lead his warriors against the US army after the US government had reversed a land treaty in 1877.

Lakota Chief, Red Horse’s firsthand account of the Battle of Little Bighorn

This firsthand account details the Battle of Little Bighorn, otherwise known as “Custer’s Last Stand”.

Letter to Professor Baird

William Hornaday writes this letter which indicates the decimation to the buffalo population.

“Lone Dog Winter Count”

Lone Dog Winter covers the history of the Lakota people through pictographs. Beginning in the center and spiraling outward, depicting the major events in their history.


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