THE CONQUEST OF THE WEST CHAPTER 16 (432-455)
THE WEST AFTER THE CIVIL WAR “No One West” San Francisco – population 250,000 Denver, San Antonio, Salt Lake City Chinese Immigration To work on the railroads – cheap labor Chinese Exclusion Act – 1882 – 10 years + Racism – denied right to vote along with idiots, the insane, and felons
THE WEST AFTER THE CIVIL WAR Foreign Born Americans 1/3 of California 40% of Nevada 50% of Arizona and Idaho
THE PLAINS INDIANS Prior to the Civil War, the Indians in the East had been moved to reservations – the Indians in the West still largely roamed free. By the 1870’s and 1880’s, Indians were being pushed into smaller and smaller areas by settlers and ranchers with the help of the military.
THE PLAINS INDIANS Plains Indians had tamed the horses that had been brought by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Horses allowed the Indians to move farther, hunt more, and live easier – they also invaded the habitat of the bison and required work and space to maintain.
INDIAN WARS Americans and Natives exchange massacres: Indians are pushed out of their lands They are often cheated by government officials, settlers, ranchers, and travelers Tribes are not set up like governments, thus often agreements are disregarded Massacres like those at Sand Creek, by Red Cloud, Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee were the result
THE DESTRUCTION OF TRIBAL LIFE The destruction of the buffalo herds 1870 – 30 million buffalo by 1900 – less than 1000! Today, about 500,000 Buffalo were used in the growing industrial world for machine belts – the buffalo were doomed and along with them, the Indians Attempts to “civilize” them were haphazard and a failure – eventually they all moved to reservations
THE LURE OF GOLD AND SILVER The various gold rushes had several effects: 1. They brought huge amounts of wealth to the nation 2. They moved thousands of people into the west, creating markets and towns 3. They pushed out the Indians 4. They hastened the formation of the western states
THE LAND BONANZA The Homestead Act of 1862 was supposed to allow anyone access to land Though the land was free, settling it was often too expensive and many lacked the skill and inclination Speculators still obtained huge tracts, and conditions lent themselves to “bonanza farms” – huge corporate farms
THE LAND BONANZA By 1900, the plains became the breadbasket of America Four of the five leading wheat states were on the plains The plains also accounted for huge quantities of beef, pork, and mutton, as well as other cereal crops – most funneled through Chicago via the new railroads being built
WESTERN RAILROAD BUILDING The government was torn between getting free land for settlers and expanding the rail system to the West coast – the settlers almost always lost out Lands were granted to rail companies to help with the costs of building the railroads – half to the company, half kept by the government The rail system made travel and transport cheaper, allowing for more movement and exploitation of markets in the west
THE CATTLE KINGDOM The southwest was ideal for cattle – by the late 1700’s there were hundreds of thousands of them roaming the plains – they became known as Texas Longhorns Finally someone got the idea to round them up and herd them to various railheads, one in Abilene along the Chisholm Trail
OPEN-RANGE RANCHING The ranchers eventually moved the cattle farther north and allowed them to roam the same plains being vacated by the buffalo Ranchers only owned a few acres with access to water and “borrowed” the rest Branding cattle became important as they all wandered together until the proper time to take them to market – it also set off major disputes across the plains – Johnson County War in Wyoming, 1892
BARBED-WIRE WARFARE Barbed-wire was invented by Joseph Glidden in 1874 – it changed the landscape of the west Farmers, ranchers, townspeople, and the government strung thousands of miles of wire by the 1880’s By the end of the 1880’s open-range ranchers were bankrupt – business had changed because of the wire – and the frontier was mostly gone