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  1. c. 1850-1900 The American West

  2. Prior to the discovery of gold, much of the West was considered a wasteland & much was part of North Mexico • During the last decades of the 1800s, the U.S. was segmented into 1) an industrialized society and 2) a frontier • The 1890 census was the first to record that the frontier had been settled • Additionally, by 1890 the US surpassed Great Britain in iron and steel production • Settlement in the West was powered by industry The American West

  3. By the 1860s, agricultural settlement reached the western margins of the tall grass prairies The Great Plains

  4. Ecology- 60 million years ago, the Rocky Mountains rose out of the sea and covered western North America With no outlet, the shallow inland sea dried up A hard pan was left Sediment washed down from the mountains over time to form a loose, featureless surface The Great Plains

  5. Ecology- • The climate suffered from cycles of drought because moist winds from the Pacific ocean delivered rain on the western slope of the Sierras • Only drought-resistant grasses and plants could survive in this climate • The ecosystem could support certain plants and animals, but had not nurtured very much human settlement The Great Plains

  6. About 100,000 Native American groups lived on the plains in 1850 • They were very diverse • They have been categorized across six linguistic families and 30 “tribal” groups • Mandan, Arikara, Pawnee ~lived in permanent villages ~planted corn & beans ~however, smallpox & measles ravaged settled groups Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  7. Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, Cheyenne, “Blackfeet,” “Crow,” & Sioux Were dispersed in hunting groups First arrived on the plains in the 1600s Hunted buffalo Moved from lake country in northern Minnesota when fish and game dwindled Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  8. Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, Cheyenne, “Blackfeet,” “Crow,” & Sioux Became nomadic Lived in portable skin teepees Acquired horses from southwestern groups Came to claim the entire Great Plains North of the Arkansas River Drove out or subjugated longer-settled groups Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  9. One notable group of Plains Native American Indians were the Lakota Sioux • They had strict gender roles • Women were more subordinate than in other groups • Saw God as a series of powers pervading the universe • The Sun Dance was one form of religious worship for them Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  10. Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  11. The Lakota Sioux were not a self-contained group of people They traded with others, including whites Pelts and buffalo robes were traded for kettles, knives, blankets, & guns, which the Lakota came to rely upon Native American Indians of the Great Plains

  12. Again, prior to the 1840s gold rush, land in the west was seen as only worthy of Native American Indian settlement and use In 1834, congress formally designated the Great Plains as permanent Indian country The army constructed border forts from Lake Superior to Fort Worth Texas They were made of stone because they would be in place “forever” “Mainstream” Americans would theoretically trade with the Native Americans, but not settle the west Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  13. What changed these perceptions? 1. Native American country became seen as a “bridge to the Pacific” People left for Oregon in 1842 So many wagons crossed the western landscape that they rutted it and affected the ecology Talk of a transcontinental railroad began in 1848 Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  14. The Pony Express began to deliver mail to CA In 1861, telegraph lines brought San Francisco in communication with the East The government granted land to railroad development projects Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  15. The Union Pacific met the Central Pacific railroads in Promontory, Utah in 1869 Railroads laid the basis for economic exploitation of the Great Plains Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  16. 2. Cattle raising was thought of as a good venture Because of this the buffalo had to go A huge market was created in the 1870s when eastern tanneries learned to treat hides and use them efficiently for a) shoes & b) harnesses Systematic buffalo slaughter began Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  17. Great herds (already decimated by disease and shrinking pastures) were gone in about ten years Killing buffalo was also a conscious way to starve plains Native American Indians into submission Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  18. With the railroads in place, ranchers could get their cattle to market Long cattle drives were initiated to help ranchers get their cows to market in Missouri Cattle towns emerged at markets where weary cowboys would stop to binge Cowboys, many of whom were African American and Hispanic, were farmhands on horseback Cowboys worked hard, long hours under harsh conditions Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  19. When the railroad came to Texas in the 1870s, the long drive was abandoned Many ranchers bought, leased or claimed huge tracts of land By the early 1880s, the plains overflowed with cattle, ravaging grass and trampling water holes – altering the ecology In 1885, a severe blizzard & then a summer drought killed hundreds of thousands of cattle Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  20. Cattle were dumped on the market by desperate ranchers Native grasses were destroyed Open-range ranching ended Ranchers began to fence their land and plant hay to replace the tall grasses Many ranchers adapted, raising sheep Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  21. Hispanic shepherds revealed that the sheep would feed on the mesquite and the prickly pear, which replaced the grass Wagon Trains, Railroads, & Ranchers

  22. Land associated with railroad development was sold to generate funds and to create traffic 160 acres of public land was given to all takers under the Homestead Act of 1862 Magazines advertised that anything would grow in Kansas and claimed that the area received ample rainfall to attract settlers To be sure, there was a wet cycle in the area 1878-1886 However, the area was still desolate and distant for most homesteaders Homesteaders

  23. Some women found the plains experience to be liberating In the harsh environment, many gender roles were dismantled Women would often be called upon to do “men’s jobs” Many of the homesteader women became self-reliant as men gave up or died In fact, the Homestead Act accorded widows & single women the same rights as men Homesteaders

  24. While men brought in large harvest wages, women provisioned various necessities such as eggs or socks Thus, homesteading men tended to place a high premium on marriage Homesteaders

  25. The movement to the West was very large It was called an exodus by many Motivated by economic opportunity, Norwegians & Swedes joined As a result, Swedish & Norwegian became primary languages in parts of Minnesota & the Dakotas Homesteaders

  26. The West was seen as a “Promised Land” for some African Americans In the spring of 1879, some Southern black communities left for Kansas 6,000 left Mississippi and Louisiana These groups were called the Exodusters 40,000 were settled in Kansas according to the 1880 census This constituted the largest group of African Americans in the West outside of Texas Homesteaders

  27. Exodusters in Nicodemus, KS Homesteaders

  28. Faced many hardships- Plagues of grasshoppers Hot winds Brush fires Hailstorms Homesteaders

  29. Produced many innovations- Steel plow, invented to break tightly-matted ground Drought-resistant wheat Irrigation systems Dry farming techniques Barbed wire Homesteaders

  30. By the late 1800s & the early 1900s- The Great Plains were fully submitted to agricultural development The plains’ wheat was consigned to the world markets Eastern financiers were invested in the situation What did this situation mean for Native American Indians? Homesteaders

  31. The Far West Extraction of mineral wealth became the impetus for Far West’s development By 1860, California boasted 300,000 residents San Francisco existed as the central mining hub However, the drive for mineral wealth spread to Nevada, the Colorado Rockies, up to Canada, into Montana, and Wyoming Prospectors, traders, gamblers, prostitutes, & saloon keepers populated these areas, making their living in mining-related fields

  32. The Far West Oregon & Washington were stimulated by the population growth, as markets were created for their farming, ranching, logging, fishing and timber industries

  33. Hispanics, Chinese, and Anglos What were race relations like among these groups?

  34. Golden California With its Spanish flavor and its warm climate, California was billed as a charming destination for visitors and settlers by the 1880s It was also a part of the final push to the Pacific in terms of “Manifest Destiny” The idea that this was the U.S.’s “final frontier” spurred conservation efforts, such as Yosemite National Park in 1890 Population pressures caused water shortages, which stimulated water-resource development such as elaborate irrigation and aqueduct systems