U.S. History Chapter 15 Looking to the West. The culture of the Plains Indians declines as white settlers transform the Great Plains. Meanwhile, farmers form the Populist movement to address their economic concerns. Section #1: Moving West. Why did they want to go west?
U.S. History Chapter 15 Looking to the West.
The culture of the Plains Indians declines as white settlers transform the Great Plains. Meanwhile, farmers form the Populist movement to address their economic concerns
Thousands of African Americans moved west after the Civil War.
To escape persecution after Reconstruction.
Benjamin “Pap” Singleton became the leader of a group of southern African Americans planning a mass “exodus”.
They called themselves Exodusters.
Married women experienced solitude as their husbands went to look for work.
Needed to stay at home to prevent squatters.
Loneliness made women want to go outside the home.
Western women began to want the vote.
Wyoming became the first state to allow women to vote in 1890.
Many white though that only solution was to make the Indians become more like the whites
- Assimilation - to adopt the culture of the people around you
Dawes Act (1887)
Intended to make Indians give up their traditions and accept White customs
Reservation lands were divided up in farm plots for families and individuals (40 to 160 acres)
Any remaining land was sold to white settlers
Profits used to pay for Indian schools
Indians who accepted the plots of land could become citizens for the 1st time
Dawes Act failed
Many western Indians didn't want to settle down as farmers
Lacked tools and training
Many sold their plots to white settlers cheap
End 1800's - situation of the American Indians was tragic
20th century U.S. government finally realizes importance of Indian way of life
New machines and techniques allowed farms to produce more.
Owners wanted to reap a “bonanza” by supplying food to big populations in the East.
Bonanza Farms created
Controlled by large business and managed by professionals.
More was produced and prices fell.
Farmers invested in machines & raised crops yielded by machines.
If those prices dropped, farmers couldn’t pay off debt from machine.
Land speculation increased this.
People would buy more than they could manage.
Gold Bugs: bankers and wealthy industrialists.
A Gold Standard would limit the amount of money in circulation and deflate prices.
The economy would be more stable. The wealthy would have protection for their money.
Silverites: silver miner, farmers, and debtors.
The unlimited coinage of silver would increase the money supply and inflate prices.
The economy would be stimulated. Farmers would get more money for their goods; debtors would more easily repay loans.
- Some went bankrupt
- Led to rush on banks
- Businesses, banks collapse
- Panic became depression
Frederick Jackson Turner said the frontier had played a central role in forming America’s character.
The West had forced people to forget their culture and adapt, innovate & invent!
Turner felt the West had produced a highly individualistic, restless, and socially mobile American.
Created Americans who were ready for adventure, bent on self-improvement and committed to democracy.
Problems with this:
Saw settlers as whites only.
No difference in experiences of women/men.
Didn’t take into consideration Native Americans, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc.
Didn’t include how Gov’t helped big business.
Didn’t remember European culture.
Big Business put Western land up for sale.
Morrill Land Grant Act provides state gov’ts with millions or acres to sell.
Homestead Act gives land to settlers willing to farm.
European immigrants, people seeking opportunity, and people fleeing racial prejudice in the East seek land in the West.
California Gold Rush draws thousands of fortune seekers.
Violence erupts between settlers and Native Americans.
Many Native American groups are destroyed or displaced.
Challenges of prairie farming lead to increased mechanization.
Bonanza farms and cattle ranching industries develop.
Frontier myths influence national identify.