The Westward Spirit

Review Questions

Which of the following does not represent a group that participated significantly in westward migration after 1870?

  1. African American “exodusters” escaping racism and seeking economic opportunities
  2. former Southern slaveholders seeking land and new financial opportunities
  3. recent immigrants from Northern Europe and Canada
  4. recent Chinese immigrants seeking gold in California



Which of the following represents an action that the U.S. government took to help Americans fulfill the goal of western expansion?

  1. the passage of the Homestead Act
  2. the official creation of the philosophy of Manifest Destiny
  3. the development of stricter immigration policies
  4. the introduction of new irrigation techniques



Why and how did the U.S. government promote western migration in the midst of fighting the Civil War?


During the first two years of the Civil War—when it appeared that the Confederacy was a formidable opponent—President Lincoln grew concerned that a Union defeat could result in the westward expansion of slavery. Thus, he hoped to facilitate the westward movement of white settlers who promoted the concept of free soil, which would populate the region with allies who opposed slavery. To encourage this process, Congress passed the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act in 1862. The government also constructed and maintained forts that assisted in the process of westward expansion.