In which John Green teaches you about the Wild, Wild, West, which as it turns out, wasn’t as wild as it seemed in the movies. When we think of the western expansion of the United States in the 19th century, we’re conditioned to imagine the loner. The self-reliant, unattached cowpoke roaming the prairie in search of wandering calves, or the half-addled prospector who has broken from reality thanks to the solitude of his single-minded quest for gold dust. While there may be a grain of truth to these classic Hollywood stereotypes, it isn’t a very big grain of truth. Many of the pioneers who settled the west were family groups. Many were immigrants. Many were major corporations. The big losers in the westward migration were Native Americans, who were killed or moved onto reservations. Not cool, American pioneers.
Support CrashCourse on Patreon:
Hey teachers and students – Check out CommonLit’s free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. America’s Westward expansion was fueled by both Manifest Destiny and a desire to grow the nation and its resources — though at a cost:
As Americans continued to stream West on the name of Manifest Destiny, American Indians saw their lives changed forever as they moved from practising resistance to lives on reservations: