Lewis and Clark map
Lewis and Clark's outbound route shown
in red, inbound in blue
  • Frontier: The land west of where most white settlers lived. Native Americans lived on the frontier.
  • Westward Expansion: the white settlers moving west into land that Native Americans lived.
  • Political boundaries: the imaginary lines that separate countries.
  • A territory: land that was part of the U.S. but had not become a state.
  • Successive: following in order, one after another. The settlers settled the frontier in successive order. Each time many settlers would go further west than others had gone before them.
  • Local Governments: the governments that were operated by the people in the frontier.

[audio] The Northwest Ordinance

  • The Northwest Ordinance was a law that informed the people how to set up a government in the Northwest Territory. It also outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territory, and it gave the settlers a bill of rights that included right to due process, trial by jury and religious freedom.
  • The Northwest Territory was divided into five different territories that would eventually become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • The process set up for becoming a state in the Northwest Ordinance was the same process used for most of the states in the United States. The process had three stages:
    Stage 1 to becoming a state:
    When the territory had 5,000 or less free adult males congress would appoint a governor to oversee the territory who would make laws for the territory. Congress also appointed judges to hold court.
    Stage 2 to becoming a state:
    When the population of a territory reached 5,000 free adult males a local self government was elected and a non-voting representative was sent to Congress.
    Stage 3 to becoming a state:
    A territory could become a state when its population reached 60,000. It would write its own state constitution and would be equal to the other states that were part of the United States.

[audio] Kentucky: the first western territory to become a state (1792).

Ohio: first territory in the Northwest Territory to become a state (1803).

Louisiana became a state before both Mississippi and Alabama, even though it is further west, because it had a city with a large population (New Orleans).

Land, water and climate: three factors that determined which areas of the country were settled first.

Sod: the reason The Great Plains were not settled by many people. In the 1840s the steel plow had not been invented yet and the land could not be farmed.


Polk's main campaign issue: Manifest destiny, the belief that United States had the right and responsibility to take ownership of the western frontier from the east to the Pacific Ocean. Polk lured American voters by promising to continue expansion of the United States.

Polk's election as U.S. President in 1884: Americans support of Manifest destiny.

The Americans support of Manifest Destiny: congress supporting the annexation of Texas. Congress decided to tolerate the political problems it would cause with Mexico and the fact that it would add another slave state to the Union.

$30,000,000: the amount of money the United States offered to pay Mexico for its land between Texas and the Pacific Ocean.

49th Parallel : the boundary agreement that Polk and the United States made with Britain instead of pushing for ownership of the entire Oregon Country.

Three core beliefs of Manifest Destiny

1) God wants the U.S. to expand westward.
2) Expansion is a necessary thing due to population growth.
3) Westward expansion is a good thing because it brings a democratic form of government to others.