Go West: U.S. Westward Expansion - PEOPLE GO WEST

PEOPLE GO WEST (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Government Social Studies Visual Arts Geography Nineteenth Century Life American History

Detail from Emmanuel Leutze's 1861 mural study—"Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way"—depicts individuals who are part of America’s westward expansion. Click on the image for a better view.


Although the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, many western-bound settlers still depended on wagons, stagecoaches, boats, horses, and oxen to reach their destination. Sometimes the food ran out, even for soldiers.

For those in the northern part of the territories, gorgeous scenery could suddenly be obscured by snowstorms. Life was hard, and it showed on the faces of many pioneers.

  • In Loup Valley (Nebraska) an 1886 family, searching for a new homestead, pose with their covered wagon.
  • Blacksmith shops were a necessity for folks traveling West. The one in Guthrie was open-air.
  • About 36,000 people processed their land registrations in nine Orlando (Oklahoma Territory) booths.
  • On September 16, 1893, people bound for Perry (Oklahoma Territory) raced to claim land. At 9 a.m., seven days later, a long line had formed at the U. S. Land Office as claimants (like W. H. McCoy) waited to file.
0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Nov 10, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"PEOPLE GO WEST" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2005. Jan 29, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips