The Westward Expansion Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Go West, young man — as the saying goes. Or instead of doing that, just take this quiz to see how much you know about the cowboys and pioneers who traveled West and the native peoples who lived there long before the migrants came in.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson did what to increase the size of the United States?

The Louisiana territory was about 828,000 square miles (2,144,510 square kilometers).


How much did the purchase cost?

It cost $15 million. Totally worth it for Oklahoma.


In 1804, who explored these new Western territories and beyond?

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark journeyed through the land, sparking interest in Western expansion.


What was "manifest destiny" defined as?

First coined in 1845, it became a kind of de facto foreign policy until the end of the 19th century.


After what war did westward expansion really pick up?

Places like Illinois, Indiana and Mississippi began to fill up after the second war with the British was resolved.


Before the Oregon Trail and other overland routes were mapped, how did white settlers get to Oregon and California territories?

White settlers and even travelers made their way to the West before Lewis and Clark, but the journey was by boat and took nearly a year.


In 1824, trappers publicized what important breakthrough to westward expansion?

Finding a less dangerous way to cross the continental divide was critical to white western settlement.


What telling change occurred in American policies towards Native Americans in 1815?

Suddenly, Native American peoples were formally treated as adversaries.


How did new land from Louisiana and Florida effect native tribes?

So hint for future answers: Any question about how Native American tribes were treated can pretty much be answered with "negatively."


Five tribes in the Southeast United States refused to trade their land for western prairie resettlement. How many native people died in the subsequent forced march west?

Nearly 100,000 Native Americans were subject to forced removal, with up to a quarter of them dying along the way.


Cowboys came from a Spanish tradition of cattle herders known as what?

The vaqueros were named for <i>vaca</i>, or "cow" in Spanish.


What staple of cowboy life was once native to the North American continent?

While it's true that Europeans brought horses when settling North America, horses were actually native to the continent before they went extinct there after the last ice age.


Westward expansion of American people also translated to westward expansion of what terrible part of American society?

States like Texas and Louisiana were settled by slave owners.


How did the westward expansion change cowboy life?

As more people bought private land in places like Oklahoma and Texas, herds were pushed west to find open range.


Before the late 19th century, how did cattle herding work?

Open range was seriously open.


What did an "assimilation" policy entail for Native Americans in American history?

By depleting the native food source and essentially kidnapping native children and forcing them into boarding schools, "assimilation" was supposed to make Native people "white."


What's a roundup?

In a roundup, calves are weaned, cattle are cut from the herd to market and animals are sorted or branded.


The Dawes Act gave Native Americans what?

The idea was for everyone to farm their land and live like white Americans.


Why did the Dawes Act fail?

Both of these are true. "Surplus" land was also given to whites for an extremely cheap rate.


Prior to the Dawes Act, Native Americans held roughly 100 million acres (40 million hectares) of land. How much of that acreage did they lose from 1887 to 1932, after the Dawes Act was in effect?

Native Americans lost two-thirds of their land to whites after the Dawes Act and various amendments to it.


How did the railways affect cowboys?

With the rise of meat packing and processing plants, there was an increased need to get cattle to the railroad for shipment.


What was the Ghost Dance?

Originally from the Paiute tribe, the Ghost Dance promised the return of native power and ways of life.


How many Native Americans were killed in the 1890 Wounded Knee hostilities?

The Native Americans had surrendered, but a small skirmish started a horrible massacre.


During the 1832 Black Hawk War, Native Americans attempted to regain tribal land in what state?

More than 1,000 Native Americans, led by Sauk warrior Black Hawk, were involved in the attempt to regain Illinois land.


What famous American was in the militia that stopped those Native Americans?

23-year-old Lincoln took part in the local militia.


Some see what event as the end of the open range days of cowboy life?

Ranches and farms begin fencing off land, keeping their cattle on private grazing land.


What did Free Soilers stand for?

The political party held firm with the Wilmot Proviso, which also promoted no slavery in the West.


By 1910, about 50 percent of the Plains states' population was what?

There was a very robust immigrant population moving into the West.


What was the Compromise of 1850?

Both of these are true. While the compromise settled some issues, it also caused future headaches.


What other provision to the Compromise of 1850 proved to be more ignition for the eventual Civil War?

By making the Fugitive Slave Act stronger, more opponents to slavery were mobilized as abolitionists.


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