Unit 7: Westward Expansion Part of America’s continued economic success is due to the availability of land; the West functioned not just as a place, but also as an idea of what the ideal American society would look like. In theory, it was a place where the fluidity of society allowed anyone to reinvent himself or herself and rise from pauperism to prosperity. To most Americans, this rags-to-riches tale represented true democracy. Reality often diverged from the ideal, however, and the West was violent, dangerous, and often as undemocratic as any city in the East.
Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 3 hours to complete.
☐ Subunit 7.1: 3 hours
Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
- Identify and define the Manifest Destiny.
- Identify the causes and consequences of the Mexican American War as they relate to American economics and democracy.
- Identify the consequences of the Gold Rush with regard to American economics and democracy.
7.1 Overview of Westward Expansion, 1840-1860
- Reading: Wikibooks’ US History: “Westward Expansion and Manifest
Link: Wikibooks’ US History:“Westward Expansion and Manifest
Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the progress of the relationship between westward expansion, the possession of land, and democracy in American history.
About the link: This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
7.1.1 Mexican/American War
- Reading: PBS: “The US-Mexican War”
Instructions: Please read the sections labeled “Prelude to War,” War (1846-1848),” and “Aftermath.” (You can navigate back and forth using the toggle bar on the left hand side).
About the link: This online text was developed as an open educational resource designed to supplement PBS’ documentary US-Mexican War, 1846-1848.
7.1.2 The Gold Rush - Lecture: C-SPAN/Kepler’s Books, H.W. Brands “The Age of Gold” Link: C-SPAN/Kepler’s Books, H.W. Brands “The Age of Gold” (Youtube)