westward expansion

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Great Plains Pages: 3 (963 words) Published: November 25, 2013
Westward expansion was an important part of not only American history but the history of Native Americans as well. In a sense this journey seemed like a good idea and even an opportunity to further colonize the land but there was one problem, a group had already claimed the land as their home. This minor set back did not discourage Americans from working towards manifest destiny. The ways of the Native Americans were very different from those of the new settlers which caused much conflict and misconceptions. Indians lived off the land and had many spiritual rituals causing Americans to see them as “savages” (Goldfield, ed., The American Journey: A History of the United States, 544). Americans were rushing west with the hope of acquiring cheap land to raise livestock and gold regardless if the Indians wanted them there or not.

Native Americans were standing in the way of the prosperous Americans but not for long. Americans had initially granted certain parts of the West to the indians because they say the land as “unsuitable for white habitation and development” (Goldfield, ed., The American Journey: A History of the United States, 544) naming it “the Great American Desert”. Once the government realized they could in fact have white settlers living and traveling through the West they began breaking their treaties with Native Americans and pushing them even farther West and onto even smaller reservations. The farther the American settlers moved the more Indians they either had to have cooperate with the new requirements or kill. Some tribes peacefully cooperated understanding that it was the only way they would survive others like the Sioux tribe fought for their land. It wasn't uncommon for armies to go in and kill Indian tribes in order to gain land for the American Settlers. In one instance the American army went against the Fort Laramie Treaty, which had troops abandon Sioux territory, and entered the Sioux land in order to build a railroad right...
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