The War and Westward Movement

Photo of homesteading family.

With Federal resources focused on waging the war farther east, both native tribes and the Confederacy attempted to claim lands west of the Mississippi.

The Federal government's response included The Homestead Act and the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The goal was to encourage settlement, solidify Union control of the trans-Mississippi West, and further marginalize the physical and cultural presence of tribes native to the West.

Showing results 6-4 of 4

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site

    African Americans in the Frontier Army

    Painting showing African American soldiers in New Mexico in the 1870s

    Following the Civil War, permanent African American regiments were constructed in the United States Army. Although segregated due to race, these regiments served with honor and distinction, and helped to tame the Wild West. Read more

  • Fort Scott National Historic Site

    Forgotten Warriors

    Painting of Creek Chief Opotheyehala

    During the Civil War, Native Americans that enlisted in the United States Army found themselves the subject of discrimination. Yet through bravery, pride, and determination these individuals not only fought to earn the respect of their white compatriots, but to protect their homeland. Read more

  • Lithograph showing industrial and technological advancements of the Civil War

    Both North and South mobilized industry to an unprecedented degree. But the North, which already had a head start in nearly every realm of industrial and agricultural development, far outpaced the South during the war. Unhampered by the southern opposition in such areas as providing free land to farmers and subsidizing a transcontinental railroad before the war, Congress passed sweeping legislation to expand the economy. As the war dragged on, in part because many of the battles were fought on southern soil, and in part because the South fell further behind in its economic development, the North was better able to muster its economic might for the war effort. As a result, the United States was a much different country after the war. Read more

  • Painting Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way showing settlers moving into the American west

    With Federal resources focused on waging the war farther east, both native tribes and the Confederacy attempted to claim or reclaim lands west of the Mississippi. The Federal government responded with measures (Homestead Act, transcontinental railroad) and military campaigns designed to encourage settlement, solidify Union control of the trans-Mississippi West, and further marginalize the physical and cultural presence of tribes native to the West. Read more