The Westward Expansion Quiz
by Staff
Go West, young man — as the saying goes. Or instead of doing that, just take this quiz to see how much you know about the cowboys and pioneers who traveled West and the native peoples who lived there long before the migrants came in.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson did what to increase the size of the United States?

  • made the Louisiana Purchase
  • bought Texas
  • declared that all western states had a right to the lands touching their borders

How much did the purchase cost?

  • $5 million
  • $15 million
  • $50 million

In 1804, who explored these new Western territories and beyond?

  • David Thompson
  • Lewis and Clark
  • David Douglas

What was "manifest destiny" defined as?

  • the right from God to ordain a president
  • the right from God to take land from native peoples
  • the inevitability of the U.S. expansion west to the Pacific

After what war did westward expansion really pick up?

  • World War I
  • the War of 1812
  • the Civil War

Before the Oregon Trail and other overland routes were mapped, how did white settlers get to Oregon and California territories?

  • No white people were there until after Lewis and Clark.
  • They paid natives to get them there.
  • They sailed around the southern tip of South America.

In 1824, trappers publicized what important breakthrough to westward expansion?

  • the newfangled covered wagon
  • a lower (and easier) pass through the Rocky Mountains
  • instructions for fording rivers

What telling change occurred in American policies towards Native Americans in 1815?

  • American Indian affairs were now handled by the War Department as opposed to the State Department.
  • Native Americans were no longer allowed to vote.
  • Native Americans were given the vote.

How did new land from Louisiana and Florida effect native tribes?

  • They got to stay in their native lands.
  • White settlers had to learn to coexist with them.
  • It gave the government more places to "resettle" tribes it wanted to displace.

Five tribes in the Southeast United States refused to trade their land for western prairie resettlement. How many native people died in the subsequent forced march west?

  • 4,000
  • 10,000
  • up to 25,000

Cowboys came from a Spanish tradition of cattle herders known as what?

  • vaqueros
  • conquistadors
  • quixotes

What staple of cowboy life was once native to the North American continent?

  • cattle
  • horses
  • spurs

Westward expansion of American people also translated to westward expansion of what terrible part of American society?

  • slavery
  • legal bureaucracy
  • poor healthcare

How did the westward expansion change cowboy life?

  • Cowboys started wearing cowboy hats.
  • Cowboys had to move cattle farther north and west to find large ranges.
  • More cowboys started working with native tribes for wages.

Before the late 19th century, how did cattle herding work?

  • Cattle roamed freely, and if you caught 'em, they were yours.
  • Cattle owners kept their cattle in pens.
  • Cattle were community property, and towns or settlements shared the meat.

What did an "assimilation" policy entail for Native Americans in American history?

  • separating native children from their families
  • killing bison
  • both

What's a roundup?

  • Cowboys round up the cattle every night to bed down.
  • an annual or semiannual way to brand and sort cattle
  • lassoing a cow

The Dawes Act gave Native Americans what?

  • a head of cattle to raise
  • allotments of private property on reservations
  • schools for native children

Why did the Dawes Act fail?

  • Much of the land wasn't good for farming.
  • A lot of the land was sold to non-native peoples.
  • both

Prior to the Dawes Act, Native Americans held roughly 100 million acres (40 million hectares) of land. How much of that acreage did they lose from 1887 to 1932, after the Dawes Act was in effect?

  • one-third
  • half
  • nearly two-thirds

How did the railways affect cowboys?

  • More wealth brought larger ranches with more cattle.
  • Cattle were decimated by train traffic.
  • Cowboys took part in extremely large drives to get the cattle to railheads.

What was the Ghost Dance?

  • a made up Hollywood idea
  • a Sioux ritual
  • a Native American religious movement that hoped to rid the natives of white oppression

How many Native Americans were killed in the 1890 Wounded Knee hostilities?

  • more than 200
  • 48
  • 72

During the 1832 Black Hawk War, Native Americans attempted to regain tribal land in what state?

  • Illinois
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri

What famous American was in the militia that stopped those Native Americans?

  • Robert E. Lee
  • Walt Whitman
  • Abraham Lincoln

Some see what event as the end of the open range days of cowboy life?

  • the rise of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
  • barbed wire
  • an increase in dairy farming

What did Free Soilers stand for?

  • no slavery in the Western territories
  • no property in the West should be owned by private people
  • a popular potty-training method

By 1910, about 50 percent of the Plains states' population was what?

  • European immigrants
  • Americans who had moved West
  • Native Americans

What was the Compromise of 1850?

  • California was admitted as a free state, and Washington abolished the slave trade
  • Western territories were left to decide themselves about the slavery question.
  • both

What other provision to the Compromise of 1850 proved to be more ignition for the eventual Civil War?

  • All Western states had to let black people vote.
  • The Fugitive Slave Act was strengthened.
  • Any other states joining the Union must abolish slavery.