Incorporating Western Lands

In the 1800s many Americans looked toward the Pacific world rather than the Atlantic. In 1846 the country declared war with Mexico to acquire western land. Declaring victory in 1848, the United States gained territory from Kansas to California. Further incursions pushed Native peoples to reservations. The 1848 discovery of gold in California, a new U.S. territory, drew people from across the world—including Chinese migrants, who experienced hostility and restrictive laws.

These stories take place in the West, where the Spanish Mexican Del Valle family, Chinese gold miners, and the Nez Perce all sought to negotiate their place in the United States.