What effect did westward expansion have on the nation's western landscape ? 

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Westward expansion affected the western landscape of our country in several ways. As we began to move west of the Appalachian Mountains after the Revolutionary War, settlers cleared the land and began to settle on it. Farming was the main activity in this region.

This westward expansion caused problems with the Native Americans. They were forced to relocate from their lands east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the Mississippi River. At first, they were able to wander the lands on the Great Plains, but that eventually changed.

As Americans moved westward after the Civil War, more farms were established on the Great Plains. Sheepherders and cattle ranchers also moved westward. Mining towns developed as minerals were found. This encouraged the expansion of railroads across the western lands to transport people, products, and supplies. Businesses also moved westward. All of this impacted the Native Americans who were now forced to move onto reservations, in many cases after nasty battles with the United States Army.

As more and more people moved westward to pursue new opportunities, the empty, western areas started to become developed regions with new cities forming. As irrigation projects were built in the 1900s, more people were able to settle in the West changing the region from an empty, undeveloped area to an area with many people and significant economic development.

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