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Westward Expansion: Image vs. Reality

Apr 30 2012
Instructions
Print, A Breaking Scene of the Western Pioneers, C.1886, Aug. 23, LoC

The story of westward expansion is central to 19th-century U.S. history, but the way it is told has varied. Newspaper reports, pamphlets, and images published in the eastern U.S. during the mid-19th century often emphasized the bountiful resources, tranquility, and comfort of the West, obscuring the harsh conditions that settlers often faced. In addition, eastern U.S. stereotypes of American Indians as "savages" doomed by the advance of "civilization" often worked to justify expansion and obscure the complexity of American Indian lives and livelihoods.

Examine the following sources and decide whether they were created in the eastern or the western U.S.

    Print, Carl Emil Doepler, Frontispiece from Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, Johnson and Ward, 1865, Donald Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Cornell University Library


  1. A.

    East

    B.

    West

  2. Photo, All Alone in the Hills... Solomon D. Butcher, 1886, Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters: 1862-1912, Library of Congress


  3. A.

    East

    B.

    West

  4. George Catlin, “Wi-jún-jon, Pigeon's Egg Head (The Light) Going To and Returning From Washington,” 1837-1839


  5. A.

    East

    B.

    West

  6. Wapostangi, Battiste Good (Brown Hat), Winter Count, “Fight on the ice winter,” 1835-1837


  7. A.

    East

    B.

    West