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Week Eight: Oregon Trail into the Oregon Country

Wagon Train on the Oregon Trail (reenactment, 1935)
Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma

This week brings us to the Oregon Trail and Oregon Country, with settlement into the region fully underway. Professor Fritz's lecture (44 minutes) focuses on the Oregon Trail and its impact on the Pacific Northwest. He looks at how the region was jointly occupied with the British, and the way in which an influx of American settlers gave the U.S. a greater claim to the region.

The maps for this week illustrate 1) some of the expeditions Professor Fritz mentions, and 2) trails in Oregon Country at the time of early settlement and the beginning of the Oregon Trail. You can use these maps to cross-reference ideas for a study of trails in a particular locale.

As much of the focus this week is on transportation, Tribal Perspectives presents a streaming video on the types of travel in Montana prior to the introduction of engineered roads. We hope this presentation will help you consider the things that might have influenced transportation within distinct areas.

In People we present three images that illustrate how the idea of Manifest Destiny was used to promote and conceptualize western settlement. We've included excerpts from Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail as a counterweight to stereotypical images of western settlement. The People who Change History page this week marks a departure from earlier weeks. We've simply listed the names of people who were prominent during this time period, and leave it to you to look into them further if you wish.

The Research page provides a number of resources to help you find information about historic trails. We've also highlighted websites that feature lesson plans that may help you approach this material in the classroom.


Lecture Maps People Research Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 4 Unit 5