History 8-2, Assignment Seven, Westward Migration and Antebellum America


Assignment Seven
Westward Migration and Antebellum America

Deadline, April 30, 240 Points

Click here to go back to the web site for History 8-2.





How did antebellum America set the stage for the Civil War?

What factors influenced westward migration?

What were some of the outcomes?

Painting of Yellowstone Falls

The Tragic Prelude



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 settlers overran Native claims. In 1846 disputes over Oregon Territory were settled with Britain. 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 The borders of the land encompassing the Lower 48 states began to look very much like they do today.


For this assignment we will evaluate key people and events of the three decades or so prior to the Civil War
Use a separate sheet of paper document for your answers.
Be sure to use in the in-class materials and the online materials as needed. Of course, you are invited to find your own sources as well.
Uh, yes, of course you can use the materials you have gathered for your essay




Special instructions

  • TBA

Assignment Question List


Short Essays
Create a simple, original, and contextual response to the following questions.
Remember, a contextual definition explains the circumstances that form the setting for an event or idea in ways it can be fully understood. Each response will probably requre a couple of paragraphs.

  1. What was the concept of Manifest Destiny? How did it affect Americans’s moving west?
  2. What was the intent of the Kansas-Nebraska Act? did it achieve the aims of its sponsors?
  3. What were fugitive slave laws? How did they affect attitudes toward slavery?
  4. What were the negro spirituals? What might have been their uses?
  5. Explain how the underground railroad worked? What made is succeed? What challenges did it face?
  6. Trace the development of Texas Independence from 1820 to 1845.
  7. What was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo? How did it affect American westward movement?
  8. What was the appeal of the Oregon Territory? How did it affect American movement?
  9. Explain the Mexican Cession.
  10. Who was Steven Austin? Why was he important in the history of Texas?
  11. What was the essence of transcendentalism? How did it affect the American political scene? How did it affect later generations? Be specific?
  12. How did the Mormon Migration differ from others on the Oregon Trail? How was it similar?
  13. What was the goal of Nat Turner’s revolt?
  14. Explain the history of John Brown prior to the raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. What were his goals? Did he achieve them?
  15. What were the aims of the Seneca Falls Convention?
  16. Explain the history of Harriet Tubman.
  17. Who was Dred Scott? How did his case affect America?
  18. Explain the history of John C. Fremont. What were his original goals? How did that change? How did he affect the history of the American West? How did his wife and his in-laws affect his plans?

In-Depth Essays

For this part of Assignment Seven you will choose two of the following essential questions and create a simple essay of three paragraphs or so relating to it. For a three paragraph essay samples, see this link.

  • How did the Utopian communities of the time effect the general movement of Americans to the West?
  • 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?
  • Why was the Mexican War fought? What were the outcomes?
  • What drove Americans to move West along the emigrant trails?
  • What issues were driving the division between the North and South? How did they grow?
  • How did the changing course of federal law about slavery deepen the divisions between North and South?
  • Describe the various forms of resistance to slavery. 






  • Links

Printed files
Click here to view a printed copy of this assignment. If you feel a desire to panic, Pay attention to the instructions.

Media files

Online files

Chapter 20 of the online textbook

Chapter 21 of the online textbook

Click here to open a copy of the PowerPoint about slavery we used in class.

To view the YouTube video about the Kansas - Nebraska Act click here.

Tips on writing a good three paragraph essay.

To view the PowerPoint about westward expansion and Texas, click here.

Here is the link to the YouTube video about the Seneca Falls Convention.

To view the PowerPoint about westward expansion and the Oregon Trail, click here.

Click here to view the PowerPoint about transcendentalism we use in class.