The Promise – A study guide

The Promise Study Guide


(Download PDF version of this study guide)


  • Slavery: the institution of forced labor where one person is the legal property another.
  • Abolitionist: a person who favors ending slavery.
  • Expansionism: the policy of increasing a country’s size by expanding its territory.
  • Collaboration: act of working jointly on a project.
  • Adaptation: changing a written work to present it in another medium.


  • The Oregon Trail was the route west taken by 350,000 to 500,000 men, women and children from the 1840s to the 1860s.
  • The trail began at Independence, Missouri, and ended at Fort Vancouver, (now in Washington State.)
  • ¬†While making the trip almost 10% of the people died from diseases spread by poor sanitation.
  • Travelers packed wagons as light as possible, only taking easily preserved staple foods.
  • Most meals consisted of bacon, beans, coffee, biscuits and bread.
  • Although some people tried to carry along furniture, books, and treasured belongings, as the journey progressed, many pioneers had to throw away extra baggage to avoid overworking the oxen.
  • The 2,000 mile journey took five months by ox-drawn wagon.
  • Today, you could take the same trip 2,000 mile trip on the Oregon Trail by car in 4 days or on a airplane in 4 hours.

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