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Westward Ho. Manifest Destiny. Following the Civil War, many Americans loaded all of their possessions into their wagons and headed West. Why were people so willing to head into the unknown?. Homestead Act 1862. The new law established a three-fold homestead acquisition process:

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Following the Civil War, many Americans loaded all of their possessions into their wagons and headed West. Why were people so willing to head into the unknown?

homestead act 1862
Homestead Act 1862
  • The new law established a three-fold homestead acquisition process:
  • Filing an application: Any U.S. citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. Government could file an application and lay claim to 160 acres of surveyed Government land.
  • Improving the land: For the next 5 years, the homesteader had to live on the land and improve it by building a 12-by-14 dwelling and growing crops.
  • Filing for deed of title: After 5 years, the homesteader could file for his patent (or deed of title) by submitting proof of residency and the required improvements to a local land office.
  • After the Civil War, Union soldiers could deduct the time they served from the residency requirements.
morrill land grant act 1862
Morrill Land-Grant Act 1862

To encourage the building of "land-grant" colleges in Western territories that had already been granted statehood, hundreds of thousands of acres of land were given to state governments. This land could be sold by the states to pay for these colleges. At 50 cents an acre (and sometimes less), settlers and land speculators received land from individual states.

F.Y.I. Michigan State & Pennsylvania State Universities were the first land grant universities in the country. (1863)

  • In acts of 1862 and 1864, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads received grants of land to extend their rail lines westward. Part of the legislation also gave the railroads 10 square miles on both sides of the track for every mile of track constructed. This land was sometimes sold to settlers as well, sometimes at exorbitant prices.
they were
They were…….
  • Miners
  • Cattlemen and cowboys
  • Farmers

What supplies would settlers need?

What dangers would they face during their journey?


1848 California (Gold)

  • 1859 Pike’s Peak, CO (Gold)
  • 1859 Comstock Lode in NV, $340m produced (G, Silver)
individual miners
Individual Miners
  • Individual miners used the placer method. (see picture)
  • Shovels and washing pans were used by prospectors
hollywood tin pans
Hollywood Tin Pans
  • Pale Rider
    • Nugget Found
    • Spider’s Find
hollywood goes hydraulic
Hollywood goes hydraulic
  • Pale Rider
    • Hydraulic Mining
impact of mining
Impact of Mining
  • Rich strikes created instant “boom towns”
    • Saloons
    • Dance Hall Girls
    • Hardware store
    • Bath House
    • Vigilante Justice
  • Many towns became ghost towns within years when gold or silver ran out
  • Surviving towns became large cities with all sorts of amenities
  • Mining Companies
    • Employed experienced workers from: Europe, Latin America and China
    • Common for a town to be ½ foreign born
    • 1860 saw 1/3 of miners from China
      • CA placed a $20 / month tax on foreign workers
      • Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
  • Environmental Scars
  • Pushed native populations off their land

Deadwood, SD: 1876

Deadwood, SD: Late 1880’s

cattlemen and cowboys
Cattlemen and Cowboys
  • 1860, some 5 million longhorn cattle grazed in the Lone Star state.
  • Cattle that could be bought for $3 to $5 a head in Texas could be sold for $30 to $50 at railroad shipping points in Abilene or Dodge City in Kansas. (known as cow towns)
  • Cowboys had to drive their cattle a thousand miles northward to reach the Kansas railheads.
cattle drives usually 3 months in duration
Cattle DrivesUsually 3 months in duration
  • Cowboys:
    • Clothing and traditions taken from early Spanish Vaueros
    • Consisted of men from many races
  • Key Elements
    • Trail Boss $100/month
    • CB (9) $30/month
    • Cook $50/month
    • 60 horses
    • 3,000 lonhorns
    • Extras for drive $300
  • Net profit: $30,000 - $100,00
cow towns
Cow Towns

At the end of the trail, sometimes four months and 1,200 miles later.

  • Cow towns had saloons filled with music, whiskey, gambling and prostitutes
dodge city the wickedest little city in america
Dodge City“the Wickedest little city in America”
  •  Founded in 1872
  • Served primarily as a civilian community to nearby Fort Dodge.
  • Business also centered on the sale of buffalo hides and bones before the cattle trade era began in 1875.
  • 1875-1885
    • Principal Kansas cow town
    • more than 75,000 head of cattle were shipped annually
  • Boasted of three dance halls for a brief time but for most of its ten years as a cattle town, there were only two.
  • city earned income by levying taxes on liquor, gambling, and prostitution.

Dodge City was established in 1872, just before the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad. It initially did a booming business in buffalo bones and hides, as well as serving as a rendezvous for soldiers from Fort Dodge. By 1875 its days as a cattle town had arrived and for the next 10 years it was the "Cowboy Capital" of the world, and "Queen of the Cow towns."

Original caption: 1878-Dodge City, KS: Approximately 40,000 buffalo hides piled up in Rath and Wright's Buffalo Hide Yard, Dodge City, Kansas.
end of an era
End of an Era
  • Long cattle drives began to end in the late 1880’s
    • Overgrazing of the grass
    • Winter blizzard and drought 0f 1885-1886 killed 90% of the cattle
    • Arrival of homesteaders
      • Barbed wire fencing (access to open range)
    • Large ranches created
      • More tender breeds were raised
      • Hay and grains used as feed
  • The Wild West was largely tamed by the 1890s
hollywood goes western
Hollywood Goes Western
  • Buffalo
    • Dances with Wolves
      • Frontier Impressions
      • Buffalo left in waste
    • Wyatt Earp
      • Skinners
  • Cowboys
    • City Slickers
      • Arriving at the ranch
      • Roping Practice
      • Start of the drive (Yee Ha Scene)
      • Calf berthing
      • Storm/Bringing home the herd
  • Homestead Act 1862
    • 500K took advantage
    • 2.5M had to purchase land
      • Best land taken by R/R companies and speculators
  • Large migration of settlers to Great Plains between 1870 and 1900
great plains
Great Plains
  • Geography
    • Dry, treeless, tall grasses
    • Extremes of hot and cold weather
    • Scarcity of water
  • Sodbusters
    • Homes built of sod bricks
    • Faced the elements
      • Plagues of grasshoppers
    • Barbed wire allowed farmers to fence off their land
    • Mail order wind-mills
great plains1
Great Plains
  • 2/3 of Great Plains “Homesteaders’” farms failed by 1900.
    • Severe weather
    • Falling prices for crops
    • Cost of new machinery
great plains2
Great Plains
  • The 1/3 that managed to stay adopted new farming methods:
    • Dry farming
    • Deep plowing
    • Russian Wheat
    • Dams and irrigation provided needed water
cyrus mccormick
Cyrus McCormick
  • In 1831, twenty-two-year-old Cyrus McCormick took over his father's project of designing a mechanical reaper. Working on his family's Virginia farm, McCormick implemented features of the machine that remain in use today: a divider, a reel, a straight reciprocating knife, a finger, a platform to catch the cut stalks, a main wheel and gearing, and a draft traction on the front. In 1834, in the face of competition from other inventors, McCormick took out a patent and soon after, began manufacturing the reaper himself.

2. The mechanical reaper was an important step in the mechanization of agriculture during the nineteenth century. Before the reaper, the amount of grain that could be cut by hand during the short harvest season limited both food supply and farm sizes. McCormick's reaper would win international acclaim at the first world's fair in London's Crystal Palace, in 1851.

john deere
John Deere

1. Deere's story is an American success story, just like that of Cyrus McCormick. (Do you remember what McCormick invented?) At eleven years of age, John Deere was an apprentice blacksmith making smoothly polished hay forks and shovels. By 1836, when Deere was twenty-six, he traveled from his home in Vermont by canal boat, lake boat, and stagecoach to Grand Detour, Illinois, where he set up another blacksmith shop. There he discovered that farmers were using cast iron plows that clogged with mud every few minutes. John Deere pondered the problem, and soon produced shiny steel plows that made nicely molded furrows.

2. Not only did Deere provide plows on special order, but he also began mass-producing them in advance of orders. Ten years after he sold his first steel plow, John Deere was filling orders for a thousand plows a year.

3. Deere's plows were high quality. In fact, he often said, "I will never put my name on a plow that does not have in it the best that is in me."