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The Conquest of the West

The Conquest of the West . The Abridged Version . Native Americans. Hundreds of tribes stretched from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast Legally the American Government regarded Native American tribes as autonomous nations, that just so happen to live within the borders of the United States

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The Conquest of the West

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  1. The Conquest of the West The Abridged Version

  2. Native Americans • Hundreds of tribes stretched from the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast • Legally the American Government regarded Native American tribes as autonomous nations, that just so happen to live within the borders of the United States • The Federal Government from most accounts wished to honor these treaties, but White settlers coveted the fertile lands • Indian Removal Act of 1830 • Cherokee Nation v Georgia • For much of the 19th century, the American government pushed Native Americans out of their homelands and moved them onto reservations • Oklahoma • Plain Indians faced a dire threat when the American Buffalo Herd became endangered • White Frontiersmen wanted the buffalo for the meat and hide • Once numbering in the millions, the herd was down to the thousands

  3. The Indian Wars • 1864- Sand Creek Massacre and Black Kettle • 1865-67- Great Sioux War • Red Cloud and the Treaty of Fort Laramie • Custer’s Last Stand • Cheyenne and Sioux ally themselves against the American military. Lt. Colonel George Custer attacks and gets himself and his men killed • This event would unite Americans against the Native Americans • Nez Perce and Chief Joseph • Misunderstanding between American soldiers and the Nez Perce, Chief Joseph were forced to retreat • 30 miles from the Canadian border, they were captured and surrendered • Chief Joseph was allowed to speak to Congress on behalf of his people and that of all Indians • His statements changed the perception of many Americans towards Native Tribes

  4. Mining • With most of the Native American Tribes in shambles or on the reservations, Americans were able to scour the land. • Discovery of gold in California prompted speculators to look everywhere • Gold, silver, and copper veins were found throughout much of the west. • Pop. in California in 1848 14,000 Pop. in California in 1852, 224,000 • People from around the world came to America for gold • By 1860 more than 35,000 Chinese men were working in the mines • Boomtowns/Helldorados/The Gold Mountains • A discovery was made on the land. Settlers would hear of the news and a town would pop up virtually overnight. • Mine the entire vein and then leave • Comstock Lode • Only the extremely wealthy were able to make any kind of money off the mines. • Equipment • Mining Corporations • They laid the foundation for true white settlement in mining states

  5. These Boomtowns were short-lived, but they were flourished • Ethnically diverse • Creation of social clubs, amateur sports, and temples • Saloon Culture • The town center. The Saloon was the life of the city • Most miners were young men trying to make it rich • Very few respectable women lived in these towns • They would drink and enjoy time with a lady

  6. Texas and Mexico • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo • Gave people the option of staying in Texas and giving up citizenship or move back to Mexico • Most stayed • Mexicans were supposed to receive full rights under the law. Not true for everyone • Were treated unfairly by Americans especially lawyers • Work • Heritage Intact • The American Southwest has a distinct Hispanic flavor to it

  7. Open Range • With the slaughter of the buffalo, the emergence of the cattle industry was possible • The American West is perfect for grazing • Grass as far as the eyes can see • By the end of the Civil War, more than 5 million longhorns were in Texas • Perfect opportunity to make money • Joseph McCoy and Kansas • The biggest market near Texas was Kansas. Kansas was a center of transportation. • Could travel to St. Louis and Chicago from here • To get the cattle to Kansas, Cowboys would need to drive the herd as much as 1500 miles, so they could be shipped to the east • The emergence of Cowboy culture • Everyone could be a cowboy • As much as 1/3 of them were Indian, Mexican, or African American

  8. Range Wars • Cattle and mining towns were notorious for violence • They were mostly populated by young 20 something's • Crime was rampant • Horse theft cattle rustling • Death by lynching • Violence was prevalent throughout the West • Ended with the closing of the open range • People had to protect their investment • Barbed wire

  9. The Great American Desert • The Great Plains has absolutely nothing but grass • Weather is extremely violent • Tornadoes, Blizzards, Flash Floods, Droughts were possible • Americans were not about to be stopped however and the Federal Government was going to help • The Homestead Act of 1862 • 160 acres for free • Had to improve the land within five years • Allowed women some opportunity for land as well • Horace Greely • Huge advocate of the West • Promoters • Convinced more than 2 million Europeans to settle the West, primarily Germans • Transcontinental Railroad • Lincoln wanted to connect the East to the West • Authorized the building of a huge railroad • Transportation creates money, money creates communities

  10. Wheat and work • Traditional crops would not grow in the Great Plains. • Wheat flourished • Wheat would be planted all over the Great Plains • Men tended to the fields and worked hardest during harvest • Seasonal jobs • The rest of the time was spent working on their farms or for the wealthy elite • The people living in the Great Plains were not afraid of work. They loved it for most accounts, but it was impossible to feed your family on hard work alone • Most farms failed • Creation of Commercial Farming

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