Critical Thinking Questions
Describe the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. What effect did it have on Americans’ westward migration? How might the different groups that migrated have sought to apply this philosophy to their individual circumstances?
Compare the myth of the “Wild West” with its reality. What elements of truth would these stories have contained, and what was fabricated or left out? What was life actually like for cowboys, ranchers, and the few women present in mining towns or along the cattle range?
What were the primary methods that the U.S. government, as well as individual reformers, used to deal with the perceived Indian threat to westward settlement? In what ways were these methods successful and unsuccessful? What were their short-term and long-term effects on Native Americans?
Describe the ways in which the U.S. government, local governments, and/or individuals attempted to interfere with the specific cultural traditions and customs of Indians, Hispanics, and Chinese immigrants. What did these efforts have in common? How did each group respond?
In what ways did westward expansion provide new opportunities for women and African Americans? In what ways did it limit these opportunities?