Westward expansion began with the Louisiana purchase, the gold rush, the Oregon Trail and a belief in manifest destiny. Pioneers and immigrants built the Overland trails to the American Old West throughout the 19th century beginning  around 1829 until 1870 as an alternative to railroad transportation. Immigrants colonized much of North America west of the Great Plains in mass migrations in the mid-19th century. There are many motives for this treacherous journey including religious persecution, inexpensive land and the gold rush. The history of these trails and colonizers who traveled them have become embedded in American culture and folklore. The Oregon Trail, the California Trail, Old Spanish Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Southern Emigrant Trail and the Mormon Trail still have signs along the highways that today's modern travelers can follow. The most common vehicle for Oregon and California colonizers were covered wagons pulled by oxes or mules.10% of the migrants who attempted to cross the United States died during the trip.

The Oregon Trail was the name of the 2,170 mile East-West route westward across the United States taken by about 400,000 pioneers, settlers, farmers, ranchers, business owners and their families during Western expansion from 1835 through 1869. the route runs from the state of Kansas and nearly all of what is now Nebraska and Wyoming stretching past Idaho and Oregon. The use of the trail declined as the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 making the trip West considerably faster and safer.

Are wereDaily life in early America was extremely harsh for the first settlers. They were in a new country and did not have friends or relatives to help them in this unknown territory. As the American colonies grew large cities began to grow as well. These cities became centers of trade for the surrounding rural areas. People worked as farmers, merchants, and as tradesmen. Children living in colonial cities have access to schools and education to a higher degree than those living on farms. Churches were well attended and often served as a meeting place for the locals to get together and discuss the news of the day. The wealthy often wore large powdered wigs in an attempt to emulate the latest fashions that were popular in England. Rural farmers socialized in taverns and at dances and festivals.

Western Expansion Games and Activities

Expansion and Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny vocabulary

Manifest Destiny Jeopardy

Manifest Destiny Interactive

Manifest Destiny Rags to Riches

The Issue of Slavery and Manifest Destiny (quia)

Learn about Manifest Destiny (mrdonn)

Western Expansion (mrdonn)

The Oregon Trail (mrdonn)

Oregon Trail Interactive Map

Hardship without Glory - Life on the Trail

Oregon Trail - Questions and Answers

Cowboy and Pioneer Games for Children

Western Themed Party Ideas and classroom activities for kids

Pioneer cowboy games

Western party game ideas for groups of kids

Daily Life in the Colonies

Western Expansion games that Pioneer childrens played

Western Expansion: Pioneer Era Games That Laura Ingalls Would Have Played

Western Expansion Early American Pioneer Children's Games

Western Expansion Historically Accurate American Pioneer Children's Games

Interactive History - Colonial House

Wonderful website: 13 colonies government

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut 1639

Virginia House of Burgesses

Vocabulary Matching

Western Expansion

Free iPad apps about the Oregon Trail

American History Games

Johnny Appleseed

Eyewitness to the Old West

The West (pbs)

Western Expansion & Growth

American History Games