History of Western Expansion

Following the War of 1812, the United States turned it's attention to exploration and settlement of the vast territory of the West. which had been greatly expanded by the Louisiana Purchase.  Pioneers and their families, encouraged by the federal government, soon moved westward creating new communities and new states.


Key Resources

  • Westward Expansion and Regional Differences
    This chapter from the U.S. Department of State's "Outline of U.S. History" provides information on the political, economic, and social settings that led to the westward flow of population.
  • Louisiana Purchase
    A Library of Congress web guide using primary documents from American history, including a timeline, map, and the treaty between France and the U.S.
  • Lewis and Clark Journey of Discovery
    The story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with maps and photographs.
  • American Memory - Immigration, Westward Expansion
    This site from the American Memory project provides a collection of primary documents, including photographs, diaries, journals, correspondence etc. on immigration and western expansion.

Guides to Resources

  • Trails out to the West

    This guide provides links to web pages from the National Park Service that contain digitized primary resources, such as diaries and memoirs, photographs and maps.