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Discover_our_World_Yellow / Lesson 1: Manifest Destiny and Pioneers

Manifest Destiny & The Pioneers

The late 18th Century- 19th Century (1790s-1890s)

  • A Spirit of Adventure arose in many Americans after the Revolutionary War

  • There were unchartered lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains that Americans wanted to explore.

  • Also, the cost of land rose to be extremely high-it was $50 per acre of land.

  • Westbound American settlers soon found themselves following the old Native American trails west into Kentucky, Mississippi & Indiana Territories.


  • The people who led the way west were called pioneers.

  • (Today, Anyone who leads the way in exploring new or uncharted territories is also called a pioneer; for example, those who explore the unknown areas such as the oceans, outer space, other planets, etc. are also pioneers.)

The Nation Grows

  • As the pioneers went west and settled more lands; the United States grew into a bigger country, as many settled territories became new states.

  • In 1800, the U.S. borders stretched from the Atlantic ocean to the Mississippi River.

  • The British claimed Canada above the U.S.

  • The Spanish claimed claimed Florida and most of the Southern areas which are now part of the U.S.

  • The French claimed the Louisiana Territory; which ws west of the Mississippi River.

  • Native Americans also occupied areas out west.

The Pioneer Journey

  • The Pioneers had to cross the Appalachian Mountains to go west.

  • They also had to cut through forests, cross rivers, climb hills, and go through swamps.

  • They traveled in groups for protection from Native Americans, who did not want people settling in their lands.

Pioneer Transportation

  • The Pioneers had covered wagons, carts, horses, or other animals to carry them, or they walked the many miles each day.

  • Typically, their wagon trains traveled about 15-20 miles a day.

  • The journey westward could take months, depending on where they wanted to settle.

Manifest Destiny

  • Many pioneers had a belief in Manifest Destiny.

  • Manifest Destiny is the belief that the Americans had the God-given right to spread their culture, religious beliefs and traditions on other people who were in the world because they were right.

  • The Pioneers who believed in Manifest Destiny wanted to travel westward to share God with the Native American people groups, who did not know their God.

  • The Pioneers believed that this God-given right also gave them the rights to travel westward to settle in new lands.

  Manifest Destiny

  • The people of the United States felt it was their mission to extend the "boundaries of freedom" to others by imparting their idealism and belief in democratic institutions to those who were capable of self-government. It excluded those people who were perceived as being incapable of self-government, such as Native American people and those of non-European origin.

Daniel Boone

  • Daniel Boone was a famous trailblazer.

  • He explored, hunted and trapped in the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Boone was called "the pathfinder" because of his skills at finding Native American trails

  • Boone never admitted to being lost.

John Findley

  • John Findley was friends with Daniel Boone.

  • John Findley was a trader in the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Findley told Boone about a "gap" or narrow valley that the Native Americans used to cross over the Appalachian Mountains into Kentucky

The Gap

  • Daniel Boone led 5 families over the "gap" which became known as the "Cumberland Gap"

  • The gap had two trails in it which led to Kentucky

  • Today these trails are combined into what has become the "Wilderness Road"-Boone had originally expanded the trails.


  • Boone led some people through the gap with his son in 1773.

  • A group of Delaware, Shawnee and Cherokee Native Americans saw Boone and his group.

  • The Native Americans killed Boone's son and some other people to get them to leave their lands---the group decided not to settle in Kentucky as a result.

  • "October 9; Daniel's son, James, is killed by Indians along with 5 other people, as they are camped for the night. The pioneer party is so distressed that they decide to turn back. Later Daniel would visit his son's grave in the wilderness and spend a dark, rainy night alone beside it. Daniel's son, Nathan, spoke in years after his father's death, of how this was one of the worst times of Daniel's life and affected him deeply"


  • Boone continued to bring settlers through the gap into Kentucky-he did not let the death of his son by Native Americans stop him.

  • Daniel Boone founded Boonesborough, a settlement in Kentucky.

  • He brought so many people to Kentucky that by 1792 it became the fifteenth state


  • The Pioneers moved west for adventure, for cheaper and better farm land, and because of their belief in Manifest Destiny.

  • Pioneers experienced unfamiliar surroundings, fear of Native American attacks, long hot days of travel, etc.