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The Conquest of the West

The Conquest of the West

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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