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Settling the West

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  1. Settling the West

  2. People Move Out West • After the Civil War, many people started moving out west • What was the draw? • Silver • Gold • Land • Were there whites there already? • Yes: Mormons in Utah, Settlers in Oregon, Some here and there • Big influx of migration in the 1860s and 1870s

  3. Mining • Minerals like ore, gold, silver, and copper attracted men to the west • Comstock Lode • 1859 Six-Mile Canyon, NV • Henry Comstock claimed area of near pure silver • Huge boom of people • Town had 30,000 with opera house, European shops

  4. Boomtowns and Ghost towns • Booms • Crime an issue as people fought over land and profits from the gold/silver/copper, etc. • Vigilance Committees • Tried to take law into own hands since law enforcement was scarce • Women – barmaids, laundresses, “ladies of the night,” dancers, etc. • Busts • Once the ore was extracted, the economy tanked, and many towns were left deserted.

  5. Cattle Ranching • Cattle ranching on the Great Plains • At first, not practical – dry land, hot • Longhorn cattle – brought up from Mexico could handle the climate • Mexicans introduced cattle ranching throughout southern and central U.S.A. • Before Civil War: cattle not popular • After Civil War: cattle became lucrative • Many slaughtered to feed armies • Railroads across America made it easier to do business • Long drives of cattle to get to the railroads

  6. Homestead Act • 1862 • Gov’t supported • $10 fee got you a homestead (up to 160 acres of public land…once lived there 5 years, it’s yours) • At first difficult to find crops that thrived in the dry plains. • WHEAT!