The West and the New South Chapter 26
Miners • Cattlemen/Cowboys • Farmers
Colorado • Gold found near Pike’s Peak in 1859
Nevada • Comstock Lode (gold) near Virginia City, Nevada
Idaho • Montana • Copper in Butte, Montana
First: panning for gold • Second: investors and corporations started deep shaft mining
Creation of new towns • Saloons, dance halls, theatres, railroads, etc. • Often became ghost towns after gold and silver ran out • Some stayed in San Francisco, Denver, and Sacramento
Attracted Immigrants • About 1/3 were Chinese in 1860s • Typically about 50% of a town was foreign born • Created resentment: Chinese Exclusion Act (first law to restrict immigration on basis of race and nationality)
Created monetary crisis • Increase in silver supply creates inflation
Caused severe environmental damage • Berkeley Pitt (Butte, Montana)
5. From whom did american cowboys and cattleman learn the techniques of the cattle business?
Mexican cowboys called vaqueros • Texas Longhorns originally came from Mexico • After Civil War, 5 million longhorns roamed freely on Texas plains • Cattle business started easily • Cattle and land was free • Called “open range” ranching
They opened up eastern markets for Texas cattle • Cowboys drove cattle up Chisholm and Goodnight Loving Trails to “cow towns” of Abilene and Dodge City (RR junctions in Kansas) • RR took cattle to Kansas City and Chicago to be slaughtered • Meat then shipped east
By 1884-1885, range was overstocked with beef, which drove prices down (less incentive to raise cattle) • Overgrazing destroyed the grass on the plains • Blizzard and drought of 1884-86 killed 90% of cattle • Many cowboys opted for settling on ranches
Arrival of homesteaders (farmers) • Put up barbed wire fences, cut off access to open range
Homestead Act of 1862 • 160 acres of public land free to any family that settled on it for five years • 1870-1900: 500,000 families got free land
9. Did all the homesteaders get free land? • NO • Actually, 2.5 million families had to buy their land because… • RR companies and speculators (profit seekers) often bought best land up and then sold it for profit to homesteaders
Extreme Weather • Lack of Resources • Water • Trees • Built homes of sod, so first settlers called “sodbusters’ • Joseph Glidden’s barbed wire provided fencing • grasshoppers
11. What was the significance of the oklahoma “land rush” of 1889?
It was the last piece of territory to be taken from the Native Americans (since the early 19th century, it had been designated as “Indian territory”) • With the arrival of the “Sooners” in the land rush of 1889, the US Census Bureau officially declared the “frontier” closed
12. What did frederickjackson turner write in 1893 as a reaction to the closing of the frontier?
His “frontier thesis” which argued… • The frontier had played a fundamental role in shaping the unique character of American society because… • It promoted independence and individualism • It acted as a “social leveler” by breaking down class distinctions and thus promoting democracy • It caused Americans to be practical and inventive • It caused Americans to be wasteful toward natural resources
Frederick Jackson Turner
Because it meant there was no longer a “safety valve” in the US for those people who felt unhappy about their social/economic conditions • Result: there might be European style class divisions and social conflicts
2/3rds lived on the Great Plains • Nomadic • Skilled horsemen • Life centered on hunting buffalo • Included Sioux, Cheyenne, Comanche
1/3rd lived in Far West • Settled • Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, Chinook, Nez Perce
Started with Andrew Jackson in the 1830s • Land west of Mississippi River would be permanent “Indian country” • By 1850, Manifest Destiny killed this concept
1851: US starts creating large “reservations” for Indians • Indians usually ignored
16. Why did the various indian wars take place between the Us government and the indians?
Because the newly arriving white settlers and the Indians were competing for land • Many tribes ignored orders to get on reservations • Many whites ignored orders to stay off reservations (especially if a mineral was discovered)
First Sioux War (1866) • Second Sioux War (1875-1876) • George Custer is massacred at Little Big Horn