HOW HAS “THE WEST” SHAPED OUR NATIONAL IDENTITY?. I. The Native American Resistance A. Indian Country Nearly all Natives (approx 360,000) lived west of Miss. R. by 1850 Treaty of Ft. Laramie 1851 Plains Indians were promised land if they didn’t bother settlers
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beginning of the end
a. Ghost Dance
(1) Wovoka 1889
(2) Revive traditional way of life
(3) “Ghost shirts” made them immune to bullets
b. Soldiers sent to arrest followers of the Ghost religion
c. Natives resisted
d. Gunfire erupted; killing approx. 300 Sioux
e. Marks the end of the Indian Wars on the Great Plains
1. Assimilation (cultural absorption)
a. laws passed forcing Natives to live, dress, act, talk, like Whites
b. Indian schools set up (Carlisle)
a. Designed to accelerate assimilation of Natives into White culture
b. Establ. private ownership of Native land.
c. 160 acres given to head of a family;
80 acres to single adult.
d. Full title gained after 25 years
e. much of Reservation land never used; nearly 2/3 of Native land lost to White settlement
3. By 1890, Native population reduced to 250,000
A. Economic Development of the West
1. Land Acts
a. Homestead Act of 1862
(1) Allowed settlers to buy 160 acres for a small fee if they occupied and improved it for 5 years.
(2) Some 400,000 homesteaders became landowners… hard life, many abandoned property
b. Morrill Land Grant Act 1862
(1) Federal land be used to finance land grant agricultural colleges (State U. Aggies).
(2) Scientific and mechanical methods of farming were taught & were responsible for the development of the agricultural Midwest.
c. Oklahoma Land Rush April 23, 1889;
(1) 12 noon; over 50,000 racers/settlers
(2)“Don’t be a Sooner”
(3) former Seminole and Creek Indian lands
In all, more than 11 million acres in Oklahoma.
III. The Mining Boom cheap land
A. Western Mining
1. Pikes Peak or Bust in 1858
2. 1859 Comstock Lode, NV, one of the world’s richest silver veins (>$500 mill)
3. Idaho, Montana, AZ, and Alaska
4. Klondike Gold Rush 1896
C. Mining as Big Business cheap land
1. most easily accessible ores were mined out within a few years
2. well-financed companies relied on heavy equipment & science
a) hydraulic mining used water pressure to wash away mts. of gravel
b) hard-rock mining involved sinking deep shafts into veins of quartz
4. “get rich quick” replaced by jobs
5. environment suffered greatly
IV. Western Myth new mines
Rugged Individuals conquering land
1. Most worked for or with others
2. Large companies made profit
3. Individual “stuck”
4. Federal govt. provided most help
5. Technology ensured survival