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Lesson 2.6: Group Contributions that Led to Expansion
• How did the following impact American expansion?
• Enlightenment
• Treaty of Paris
• Manifest Destiny
• The purpose of this lesson is to highlight some of the
contributions and consequences for various ethnic and
racial groups in regard to American Expansion.
• What contributions and consequences have ethnic and
racial groups had on American expansion?
• How have immigrants impacted American History? Can
you give examples of contributions made to America by
• Not until the 1670s did the first significant groups of German immigrants arrive in
the British colonies, settling primarily in New York and Pennsylvania. Immigration
continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with some eight million
arrivals from Germany.
• They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out
of Europe by shortages of land and religious or political oppression.
• Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic
opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others simply for the chance to
start fresh in the New World. The arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who
sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques
would pay off.
• German Americans established the first kindergartens in the United States,
introduced the Christmas tree tradition, and originated popular American foods
such as hot dogs and hamburgers.
• Approximately "50,000 to 100,000 Irishmen, over 75 percent of
them Catholic, came to America in the 1600s, while 100,000
more Irish Catholics arrived in the 1700s." Indentured servitude
was an especially common way of affording migration, and in the
1740s the Irish made up nine out of ten indentured servants in
some colonial regions.
• The Scotch-Irish (NON-CATHOLIC IRISH) settled mainly in
the colonial "back country" of the Appalachian Mountain region,
and became the prominent ethnic strain in the culture that
developed there. The descendants of Scotch-Irish settlers had a
great influence on the later culture of the United States through
such contributions as American folk music, country and western
music, and stock car racing, which became popular throughout
the country in the late 20th century.
• Irish immigrants of this period participated in significant
numbers in the American Revolution, leading one British
major general to testify at the House of Commons that
"half the rebel Continental Army were from Ireland." Irish
Americans signed the foundational documents of the
United States—the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution—and, beginning with Andrew Jackson, served
as President.
• Many Irish migrated individually to the interior for work on
large-scale infrastructure projects such as canals and, later
in the century, railroads.
• 1’s = whoever went to bed the earliest last night.
• 1’s tell 2’s about a contribution made by Germans.
• 2’s tell 1’s a contribution made by the Irish.
• Write down what your partner says in your learning log!
• The first recorded Africans in British North America (including
most of the future United States) were "20 and odd negroes"
who came to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as indentured servants.
As English settlers died from harsh conditions, more and more
Africans were brought to work as laborers.
• The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not
fully develop until the 18th century. The Dutch West India
Company introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of
eleven black slaves into New Amsterdam (present-day New York
• The first black congregations and churches were organized before 1800 in
both northern and southern cities following the Great Awakening.
• By 1775, Africans made up 20% of the population in the American colonies,
which made them the second largest ethnic group after the English.
• During the 1770s, Africans, both enslaved and free, helped rebellious
English colonists secure American Independence by defeating the British in
the American Revolution. Africans and Englishmen fought side by side and
were fully integrated. James Armistead, an African American, played a large
part in making possible the 1781 Yorktown victory, which established the
United States as an independent nation.
• By 1860, there were 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the United
States due to the Atlantic slave trade.
• Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the
Americas had led to centuries of conflict between Old and New World
societies. Many Native Americans lived as hunter-gatherer societies and
told their histories by oral traditions.
• In many groups, women carried out sophisticated cultivation of numerous
varieties of staple crops: maize, beans and squash. The indigenous cultures
were quite different from the mostly Christian immigrants from Europe.
• Many Native cultures were matrilineal; the people occupied lands for use
of the entire community, for hunting or agriculture. Europeans at that time
had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual
property rights with respect to land that were extremely different.
• The Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with infectious European
diseases to which they had no acquired immunity. Epidemics after European contact
caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations.
• After the colonies revolted against Great Britain and established the United States of
America, President George Washington conceived the idea of "civilizing" Native
Americans in preparation for assimilation as U.S. citizens. Assimilation became a
consistent policy through American administrations.
• During the 19th century, the ideology of manifest destiny became integral to the
American nationalist movement. Expansion of European-American populations to the
west after the American Revolution resulted in increasing pressure on Native American
lands, warfare between the groups, and rising tensions.
• In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government
to relocate Native Americans from their homelands within established states to lands
west of the Mississippi River, accommodating European-American expansion.
List contributions made by the Africans and Native Americans.
• The Chinese came to California in large numbers during
the California Gold Rush, with 40,400 being recorded as
arriving from 1851–1860, and again in the 1860s when the
Central Pacific Railroad recruited large labor gangs, many
on five year contracts, to build its portion of the
Transcontinental Railroad.
• The Chinese laborers worked out well and thousands
more were recruited until the railroad's completion in
• Chinese labor provided the massive labor needed to build
the majority of the Central Pacific's difficult railroad tracks
through the Sierra Nevada mountains and across Nevada.
• The Religious Society of Friends, also known as The Quakers, is a movement that
began in England in the 17th century.
• The word "Quaker" means to tremble in the way of the Lord. In its early days it
faced opposition and persecution; however, it continued to expand, extending
into many parts of the world, especially the Americas.
• The Society of Friends has been influential in the history of the world. The state
of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, as a safe place for Quakers to live
and practice their faith.
• Quakers have been a significant part of the movements to abolish slavery,
promote equal rights for women, and end warfare. They have also promoted
education and the humane treatment of prisoners and the mentally ill, through
the founding or reforming of various institutions.
• Summarize what you have learned about the contributions
and consequences of American expansion on the ethnic
and racial groups that we have discussed today.
• Do you feel that America is a “melting pot” or a “salad