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Early Expansion in the United States

Early Expansion in the United States

Author: Dan Boyle
  • There are four parts to this tutorial, two videos, one formative assessment quiz (does not count as a quiz grade, but will help to make sure that you have an understanding of the material), and one activity.  Please make sure that you work with all four.
  • Trace the expansion of the United States from its beginnings in Jamestown in 1607 through the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from the French in 1803.
  • Starting with the first English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, the English colonists looked for ways to expand their land holdings in order to grow tobacco, their cash crop.  
  • When George Washington and the Virginia militia crossed the Appalachian Mountains in 1754 and attacked a small French force at what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they started the French and Indian War that would develop into a world-wide colonial conflict.  
  • After the British won the war, the colonists believed that they should be able to settle on the Western side of the Appalachian Mountains.  King George III had other ideas and issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, preventing that from happening.  This became one of the early steps toward the American Revolution.
  • In the years following the Revolution, more Americans settled on the Western side of the Appalachian Mountains, and President Thomas Jefferson wanted to make sure that they could get their produce to market down the Mississippi River through New Orleans.
  • Jefferson sent two ambassadors to Paris to negotiate a purchase of that city from Napoleon, who realized that he could not hold on to that much land in North America and offered to sell the entire Louisiana Territory.
  • While Jefferson had some Constitutional concerns, he eventually decided that it was in the best interest of the United States to buy and went through with the purchase for $15 million.
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American Colonial Expansion before the American Revolution

A brief look at how the English colonies expanded from the first colony at Jamestown, Virginia through the end of the French and Indian War and the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

The Louisiana Purchase

A brief look at the events surrounding the United States' purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France.

Who Are These People?

Your assignment is to figure out who the three people are in this image by clicking on each link and working to figure out what the clues have in common. Please be ready to bring your answers to class tomorrow.