History 8-2, Assignment Nine, Westward Expansion and Antebellum America




Assignment Nine
Westward Migration and Antebellum America

Deadline, March 7, 80 Points

Click here to go back to the web site for History 8-1.




What events shaped the westward expansion of America prior to the Civil War?

How did the conflicts between the North and South lead to war?





The three decades prior to the Civil War saw America bursting at the seams and torn by civil strife between the North and the South. Sectional differences seemed beyond solving as the issue of slavery came to be a wedge between the states that could not be resolved.

At the same time the western and southwestern borders of the United States moved over a thousand miles in just a few years and settlers eager to leave their crowded lives in the East or from Europe poured into the new U.S. acquisitions at an unprecedented rate.

The settles overran Native claims and the Spanish claims to lands beyond the Rockies and south of 42 degrees north latitude were the source of a land acquiring war between the United States and Mexico. Following the war, California was added to the Union and the disputes over the Oregon Territory were settled with Britain. The borders of the land encompassing the Lower 48 states began to look very much like they do today.


Students will identify and describe key events related to the westward expansion of America and growing changes in Antebellum America.

Essential questions

  1. How did the Utopian communities of the time effect the general movement of Americans to the West?
  2. In what ways did the Texas revolt against Mexico and Texas' eventual joining to the United States affect the westerward growth of the United States?
  3. Why was the Mexican War fought? What were the outcomes?
  4. What drove Americans to move West along the emigrant trails?
  5. What issues were driving the division between the North and South? How did they grow?
  6. How did the changing course of federal law about slavery deepen the divisions between North and South?
  7. What forms did the resistance to slavery take?

Special instructions

For this assignment, you need to create simple, accurate, answers to the topic questions shown in the printed copy.



To follow.



Printed files

Click here to open a copy of the printed assignment.

Media files

Here is the link to PowerPoint about antebellum slavery.

Online files

U.S. History.org links:

  • Texas 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Slavery 1, 2, 3 ,4
  • Oregon 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Mexican War 1, 2, 3, 4


History.net pages about westward expansion

Office of the historian text about the Oregon Territory.

Kansas-Nebraska Act summary

A large copy of the timeline we used in class.

Tips on writing a good three paragraph essay.

Here is a very good summary of some of the larger trends in Antebellum America