The American West Knowledge Test What is a Pioneer?



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The American West – Knowledge Test
1. What is a Pioneer?

Someone who blazes a trail for others to follow. The first to do something



1 mark

2. Give two examples of people/groups that made the journey west and explain why?


Gold rush – to get rich, escape problems


Mormons – to escape religious persecution

Homesteaders – to make a better life, land in east expensive, cheap in west, encouraged by letters and newspaper articles

Cattle ranchers, cowboys

4 marks

3. Name two trails that were used to make the journey to the west.


Oregon trail, California trail, Santa Fe trail, Mormon trail


2 marks

4. What help did the government give to encourage people to move to the west?

1862 Homestead Act, maps and reports, protection, advertising
2 marks

5. What is meant by Manifest Destiny?

The belief that white American people were destined to occupy and govern all the territories of North America.

2 marks

6. Name three Indian tribes.

Sarcee, Cree, Blackfoot, Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Pawnee, Arapaho, Pawnee, Kiowa, Wichita, comanche

3 marks

7. Why was the buffalo important to the Indians?

Vital to their survival. Hide – tipis, clothes, moccasins etc, shoulder blades and bones – hoes, knives, sledge runners. Skull – religious ceremonies, hornes – head dresses, spoons, cups. Hooves – glue, tools, tongue – hairbrushes, food, flesh – food, hair – pillows, cushions, Fur – blankets, gloves, saddle covers.

5 marks
8. Write a paragraph giving details of finding and hunting the buffalo.

Finding buffalo, move village, first on foot then on horse, arrows, spears, guns, women’s role



5 marks

9. What attitude did the Indians have to marriage?


Wooed with poetry, usually love matches but could be arranged, girls refuse first proposal, polygamy, exchanged rings, engagement long – 5-6 years, husband to live with wife’s family

3 marks

10. What were the beliefs of the Plains Indians?

Natures great circle, great spirit, nature, animals and birds, medicine man, dances

3 marks

11. What was a mountain man?

Trappers who made a living trapping animals and selling their skins. They were explorers. Lived in the mountains, some married indians. Later they became guides.

2 marks
12. Who found gold where in 1848?

James Marshall at Sutters Fort.



2 marks
13. Name 3 problems caused by the gold rush.

Racial prejudice, lawlessness, gambling, drunkenness, vigilante groups



3 marks

14. Name 3 benefits of the gold rush.

Money to California, encouraged investors, growth of California and San Francisco, California became a state, San Francisco shipping centre, railroad came to California

3 marks

15. Who founded the Mormons?

Joseph Smith 1831

1 mark

16. Name 3 of the Mormons’ beliefs.

Communal living, Mormons God’s chosen people, to convert as many people as possible, polygamy, leaders should have political power.

3 marks

17. What was Nauvoo?

Mormon holy city built by Smith in Illinois

1 mark
18. Write a paragraph explaining why the Mormons were hated. Give as many reasons as you can.

Increasing numbers, polygamy, relationship between church and politics, belief that Mormons were chosen people, communal living, danites.


5 marks

19. Where did Brigham Young lead the Mormons?

Salt Lake Valley

1 mark

20. What was the Winter Camp?

Where the Mormons spent the winter. On the banks of the Missouri. Advance group went there first, planted crops. Got diseases many died.

2 marks

21. What forms of transport were there before the railways?

Steamboats, stage coaches, freight wagons, pony express, Wells Fargo, overland mail service

2 marks

22. Explain why the US government wanted a transcontinental railway.

Sense of unity, to take government, law and order, wanted to benefit from wealth in the West, trade links with countries such as China, to make migration easier.

2 marks

23. Give 3 reasons why people were unhappy about the railways.

Business competition, prices, farmers – believed railways only interested in profits, ended stage coach and overland mail, indians unhappy at more settlers

3 marks

24. Name 3 benefits of the railways.



Easier to travel, transport of supplies easier, growth of the West, helped to make US world leader in industry, foreign trade, new settlers

3 marks


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