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American West GCSE History Revision

American West GCSE History Revision

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American West GCSE History Revision

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  1. American WestGCSEHistory Revision All notes taken from BBC Bitesize website which you can download directly from the BBC website. BBC Bitesize Notes

  2. The development of cattle ranching Cowboys and cattle ranchers were the first group of European settlers to move permanently onto the Great Plains. They did so, to a degree, by adopting or copying many of the ways of the Native Americans. So …why and how did cattle ranching develop on the Great Plains? BBC Bitesize Notes

  3. Cattle ranching - a brief history1820-1865: Origins in Texas • Ranching first started in Texas, with ranches mostly manned by Mexican cowboys called vaqueros. • In 1836 Texan ranchers drove many Mexicans out, and claimed the cattle left behind. • The Civil War started in 1861, and Texans went off to fight. The cattle roamed free as huge herds grew up. On returning home, the Texans started rounding them up and driving them to sell in places such as New Orleans and California. BBC Bitesize Notes

  4. 1865-1870: The 'long drives' & first 'open range' ranch • Great demand for beef in the north of the USA, the Texans drove their cattle north on a long drive to Sedalia in Missouri, where they were loaded onto trains for Chicago. • Two Texas ranchers, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, pioneered a second trail, to Denver in Colorado, where they sold their cattle to gold miners. • In 1868, a rancher named John Iliff (the 'cattle-king of the northern plains') won the contract to supply beef to the Sioux, who had been forced onto a reservation in the Black Hills. • A safer drive (the Chisholm Trail) was established to Abilene. This was set up by Joseph McCoy as a 'cow-town', with railroad stockyards (and numerous saloons where the cowboys could spend their wages). John Iliff was the first rancher to set up an 'open range' ranch - in Wyoming in 1867. BBC Bitesize Notes

  5. 1870-1885: The 'open range' • There were huge areas of 'open range' - unfenced land which was free for anyone to use. • Charles Goodnight is reputed to have invented the crazy quilt (by buying small patches of land here and there over an area, he could effectively control all of it). • Refrigeration cars on trains opened a world-wide market for beef. • By 1885, just 35 cattle-barons owned 8 million hectares of range, and owned perhaps 1.5 million cattle. BBC Bitesize Notes

  6. 1885-1890: The end of the 'open range' • Ranchers had over-grazed the plains. Overstocking had also led to a fall in prices. • In spring 1886 there was a drought, followed by a scorching hot summer (up to 43°C). This was followed by a winter storm in January 1887, in which the temperature dropped to -43°C. Half the cattle on the plains died in a single year. • More and more homesteaders were coming onto the plains, and fencing off their farms with barbed wire (patented in 1874). BBC Bitesize Notes

  7. Practice Question - 'The railroads were the critical factor in the development of cattle ranching.‘ Discuss List all the ways the railroads affected the development of cattle ranching.    Think about the arguments and factsyou would use to describe:   • Whycattle ranching developed in Texas? • How and why cattle ranching spread from Texas further into the Great Plains? • Who the cattle pioneers were? • Whycattle trails and 'cow towns' were set up in the 1860s? • How cattle ranching was affected by the railroads? • Why the 'open range' had come to an end by the 1890s? BBC Bitesize Notes

  8. Suggested answers The railroads affect the development of cattle ranching …   • In 1865-1870 beef was transported north on the railroad from Sedalia, causing the opening up of Chicago and the other northern markets. • The long drives were developed solely to get the cattle to the railroads. • The development of 'cow-towns' such as Abilene were to allow the safe loading of cattle onto the railroads. • In 1870-1885, refrigeration cars on trains opened a world-wide market for beef. • After 1885 many homesteaders, who eventually destroyed ranching, were brought to the West on the railroads. BBC Bitesize Notes

  9. Why cattle ranching developed on the Great Plains? Vast fortunes were made for a while out of cattle ranching on the Great Plains. The industry was based on a combination of factors that made it highly profitable, though unfortunately for the cattle barons the bonanza did not last for ever. BBC Bitesize Notes

  10. Key factors in the development of the cattle industry The underlying factor in the development of cattle ranching was the free availability of three crucial natural products:   • wild cattle • wild horses • grass BBC Bitesize Notes

  11. These factors, together with a huge and growing market for beef in the north, meant that ranching became a good way to make a living.   • For ranching to work, several things had to be in place. The railroads were a critical factor in the development of cattle ranching - without them the cattle would not have reached the marketplace. The long drives (which took the cattle to the railroads), cow-towns and stockyards (where the cattle were loaded onto the trains) were also all vital in getting the product to market. BBC Bitesize Notes

  12. Cowboys The cowboys were another essential ingredient - without their skills nothing, particularly the long drives, would have been possible.   Engraving by GH Delorme, 1892, showing Abilene cattle trail from Texas, on the way to markets in the north BBC Bitesize Notes

  13. Other factors added weight to the basic elements • Range rights and the invention of crazy quilt allowed ranchers to acquire huge areas of land very cheaply. • Skilful breeding (the development of heavier cattle, which were still tough enough to survive on the plains) increased the ranchers' profits. • Also important for profits was the defeat of the rustlers and the Indians (which allowed ranchers to trade unhindered). • Finally there was publicity - which encouraged people to take up cattle ranching. BBC Bitesize Notes

  14. Charles Goodnight Charles Goodnight had a huge effect on the history of cattle ranching:   • He was one of the originalTexas ranchers, starting as a rancher in 1856. • He was the first to recognise and exploit the huge and growing market for beef in the mining towns of Wyoming. • He pioneered the 'long drive' (the Goodnight-Loving Trail). • He helped to develop the cowboys' skills on the long drives. • Range rights: Goodnight is reputed to have invented the technique he called the crazy quilt. • By crossing the Texas Longhorn with British Herefords, Goodnight was able to breed heavier cattle, which were still tough enough to survive on the plains. • He made a truce with a famous local rustler, 'Dutch Henry', then helped to form the Panhandle Stock Association, which drove out rustlers (especially Billy the Kid, who was killed in 1881). • James Brisbin's book about Goodnight - 'How to Get Rich on the Plains' - encouraged many other people to take up cattle ranching. BBC Bitesize Notes

  15. Revision preparationIdentify eight factors that helped cattle ranching develop on the plains. Think about the arguments and facts you would use to explain:   • Why cattle ranching developed in Texas. • How cattle ranching was affected by the railroads. • Whether the railroads or Charles Goodnight had the greater impact on the development of cattle ranching. BBC Bitesize Notes

  16. Suggested answers Eight factors that helped cattle ranching develop include:   • three essential natural products for the task • a growing market • 'long drives' and 'cow-towns' • cowboys • range rights • skilful cattle breeding • the defeat of rustlers • Charles Goodnight BBC Bitesize Notes

  17. Who were the cowboys? When cattle ranching declined in importance, many cowboys ended up working as extras on cowboy films! Hollywood films, cowboy novels and, later, TV programmes such as 'Bonanza', glamorised the cowboys, and made them seem like heroes. Was this a true reflection of genuine cowboys? BBC Bitesize Notes

  18. The real cowboys • The Hollywood image of cowboys was not realistic. Many real cowboys were black ex-slaves, whereas the Hollywood heroes were always white. Also, after the hardships of the long drive, it seems unlikely that many genuine cowboys were specially good-looking!   • They were, however, highly skilled. They could ride, shoot, lasso, wrangle, round up, herd, cross rivers, 'turn' stampedes, scout, keep watch and drive off rustlers - all in rain, hail and burning sun.   Nat Love, African American cowboy, c.1876 BBC Bitesize Notes

  19. Life as a cowboy • The life of a cowboy followed the seasons:   • In winter they hung round the ranch, or lived in 'line camps', taking daily rides to stop the cattle 'drifting' onto the open plain. • In spring, they went 'bog-riding' to haul out 'mired' cows, and then went on the 'round-up'. • In summer, they went on the trail drives to market. BBC Bitesize Notes

  20. Cowboys' lives were similar in many ways to the lives of Native Americans: • They were entirely dependent on the natural products of the Great Plains. • They moved around (though the cowboys were herding cattle, whereas the Native Americans were following the buffalo). • They cared for the cattle (eg by bog-riding and from line-camps) in a way similar to the way Native American dog-soldiers cared for the buffalo. • Their food and clothing was derived from cattle (beef and leather). • The round-up was a collective, community event similar in many ways to a buffalo hunt. • Cowboys developed a system of long-range signals, such as waving a hat, in much the same way as the Native Americans used smoke signals. BBC Bitesize Notes

  21. Real life cowboys had to endure numerous hardships: • freezing winter cold in the line camps • danger of being trampled (especially in a stampede) • danger of drowning(crossing rivers) • rain, hail and burning sun on the long drive • having to stay awake all night on guard duty on the long drive • having to ride 'drag' on the long drive (dust from the herd) • attacks from Native American warriors on the long drive • attacks from rustlers BBC Bitesize Notes

  22. The Homesteaders - Moving to the Great Plains Setting up home on the Plains was not an easy option for those considering a new start in life in the middle of the 19th century. But there were many desperate (or adventurous) people prepared to overlook the difficulties. BBC Bitesize Notes

  23. Who settled the Great Plains? Before 1860, few people moved west to try to settle on the Great Plains. The poor soil and harsh climate discouraged them (along with the fact that the Plains were officially 'Indian territory'), land was expensive to buy, and anybody wanting to go west faced a long, dangerous and uncomfortable journey.   After 1865, thousands of settlers moved onto the Plains.   BBC Bitesize Notes

  24. Who settled on the Plains? continued • Freed slaves went there to start a new life as freemen, or to escape economic problems after the Civil War. • European immigrants flooded onto the Great Plains, seeking political or religious freedom, or simply to escape poverty in their own country. • Younger sons from the eastern seaboard - where the population was growing and land was becoming more expensive - went because it was a chance to own their own land. • They were followed by other Americans - such as tradesmen and government officials - who hoped to make their living from the farmers who had moved onto the Plains. BBC Bitesize Notes

  25. Factors encouraging people to go West • The Homestead Act, 1862This allowed homesteaders to claim 160 acres of land free if they lived and worked on it for five years. The prospect of free land was very attractive to people who could never have afforded a farm back home. • RailroadsIn order to encourage the railroad companies to build the transcontinental railways, the government gave them a two-mile stretch of land either side of the railroad - part of the companies' profit came from selling this land. Therefore they launched a massive sales campaign, offering a 'settlement package', which included: • a safe, cheap and speedy journey west • temporary accommodation in 'hotels' until the families had built their own home • other attractions such as schools, churches and no taxes for five years BBC Bitesize Notes

  26. Factors continued .. • Manifest destinyThe idea grew up that white Americans were superior, and that it was America's manifest destiny (obvious fate) to expand and encourage 'the American way of life' on the Great Plains. The writer Horace Greeley, who popularised this idea, advised Americans: 'Go West, young man'. 4. Tall talesOnce the population of an area reached 60,000, it could apply to become a state of the USA. Local governments therefore encouraged publicity campaigns which claimed (for example) that farmers in the west could grow pumpkins as big as barns and maize as tall as telegraph poles. Many people moved west thinking they would make a fortune BBC Bitesize Notes

  27. Myth of the Great Plains • Henry Worrall was a Kansas vine-grower and artist, who painted this picture to contradict claims that Kansas was a place of drought.   • This painting shows farmers harvesting huge grapes, melons, maize, pumpkins and parsnips. It was used in railroad company pamphlets and became 'the biggest single advertisement Kansas had ever had. BBC Bitesize Notes

  28. Revision preparationMake spidergrams to show the four reasons people did not settle on the Plains before 1865, four kinds of person who went to live on the Plains after 1865 andfour factors encouraging people onto the Plains As part of your revision, think about the arguments and facts you would use to explain:   • Whypeople settled and stayed in the West. • Why people moved west to become homesteaders in the late 1860s and 1870s. • Which of the following was the most important factor in opening up the West: • the railroad and the railroad companies, • federal and state government actions, • the belief in 'manifest destiny' and the hopes and aspirations of the settlers, • the Homestead Act of 1862. BBC Bitesize Notes

  29. Homesteaders' problems Life was very tough for early settlers and homesteaders on the Great Plains - how did they cope with the harsh conditions? BBC Bitesize Notes

  30. Problems and solutions Early settlers and homesteader on the Plains faced huge problems. The burden of many of these fell on the women, whose lives were burdensome and Unpleasant. BBC Bitesize Notes

  31. There was little wood to build log cabins. Settlers built 'sod houses', while they lived out of doors – people did their cooking on an open fire. Homesteaders: Problems and Solutions Building a house BBC Bitesize Notes

  32. Outdoor toilets and open wells. The sod houses leaked, and fleas and bedbugs lived in them 'by the million'. It was impossible to disinfect the floor. As a result the death rate, especially from diphtheria, was high. A 'good thick coat of whitewash' killed bedbugs. 'A layer of clay' stopped leaks. Homesteaders eventually built more modern houses. Homesteaders: Problems and SolutionsDirt and disease BBC Bitesize Notes

  33. There was no wood for fuel, and no shops to buy items such as candles and soap. A typical household had only two buckets, some crockery and one cracked cup. There was no water and little food. A travelling shoe-maker or tinker might pass through who would provide or mend household items, but usually families just had to make do. The women collected 'buffalo chips' for fuel, stoked the stove, and made their own candles and soap. 'I have often wondered how my mother stood it', wrote an early settler. Homesteaders: Problems and Solutions Housework BBC Bitesize Notes

  34. No doctors or midwives. No social life 'because of the distances between farmhouses'. In the winter families were shut in 'and longed for spring'. People had to make the most of any trip to their nearest town, where the women talked of the harvest and the men smoked corncob pipes and talked politics. Homesteaders: Problems and Solutions Isolation BBC Bitesize Notes

  35. Local government was non-existent, and some early lawmen (such as Henry Plummer) were worse than the bandits. Law courts and sheriffs such as Wyatt Earp slowly established law and order. Homesteaders: Problems and SolutionsLaw and order BBC Bitesize Notes

  36. Answer preparation  As part of your revision, think about the arguments and facts you would use to explain: • What life was like for the early homesteaders? • Whatproblems faced the homesteaders, and how they overcame them? • What life was like for women in the early homesteads? BBC Bitesize Notes

  37. Farmers' problems in the West Life on the Plains was really toughfor the first European farmers there. But they were determined to survive, and found ingenious answers to many of the problems that faced them. BBC Bitesize Notes

  38. A hard crust on the soil made it hard to start farming. Farmers could not afford a plough or machines. There were not enough workers. Teams of 'sodbusters' using steel ploughs did the first ploughing. After 1880, thresher teams travelled around following the harvest. Farmers could hire them for just a few days. Farmers - Problems and solutionsFarming BBC Bitesize Notes

  39. There was only 38cm of rainfall in a year, and the hot summers evaporated dampness from the land. In the 1860s there were terrible droughts, followed by fires. The well driller and windpump allowed deep wells to be dug, which gave water. New methods of dry farming were invented (the 'Turkey Red' variety of wheat was imported from Russia, and farmers put a layer of dust on the soil after rain, which stopped evaporation). Farmers – Problems and solutionsDrought BBC Bitesize Notes

  40. Farmers could not grow enough on their farms to feed a family. The government realised that 160 acres was not enough to sustain people. The Timber Culture Act of 1873 gave farmers another 160 free acres if they grew some trees. Farmers – Problems and solutionsFood BBC Bitesize Notes

  41. Lack of wood for fencing meant farmers could not keep cattle off their crops. This led to trouble with the cattlemen. Barbed wire (patented by Joseph Glidden in 1874) solved the problem of fencing. Farmers - Problems and Solutions Fences BBC Bitesize Notes

  42. In the 1870s, grasshopper plagues stripped the cornstalks ‘naked as beanpoles' and sent pregnant women insane. Colorado beetle destroyed potato crops. Settlers tried to harvest the crops before the grasshoppers came. They tried to kill them, but gave up, 'weary and dispirited'. The government raised relief funds. Modern insecticides solved this problem. Farmers – Problems and SolutionsInsect pests BBC Bitesize Notes

  43. Rival settlers Bandits Renegade Native Americans - Vigilante cattlemen Law courts and sheriffs such as Wyatt Earp slowly established law and order Farmers – Problems and SolutionsLaw and Order BBC Bitesize Notes

  44. Source analysis and answer preparation • See how many problems you can spot facing the homesteader in Source A.   • Relate each of the problems in the source to the problems.   BBC Bitesize Notes

  45. Answer preparationThink about the arguments and facts you would use to explain:   • Why farmers were able to settle on the Great Plains. • Howhomesteaders reacted to the many problems facing them on the Plains. • Whatlife was like for the first farmers on the Plains. • How important the Timber Culture Act of 1873 was, in helping homesteaders to settle on the Plains. BBC Bitesize Notes

  46. Suggested answers • farmers struggling to use hoes and pick axes (problem 1: farming on hard soil) • sun and sparse vegetation (problem 2: drought) • no trees (problem 3: food) • few fences (problem 4: fences) • Colorado beetle (problem 5: insect pests) • grasshoppers (problem 5: insect pests) • Native Americans (problem 6: law and order) • bandits (problem 6: law and order) BBC Bitesize Notes

  47. Problems of law and order The first settlers of the American West had to be extremely tough to survive, so law and order was a rough and ready business in the newly settled territories. Things started to improve as more people arrived, and federal territories became fully fledged American states. BBC Bitesize Notes

  48. Federal territory • At first, newly-occupied land on the Plains was federal territory (it belonged to the US government) and was administered by a governor, three judges and a US marshal.   • When the area reached a population of 5,000, it became a territory, with - in addition - locally elected sheriffs, who could deal with local criminals. New territories were notoriously lawless.   BBC Bitesize Notes

  49. Township of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881The gunfight at the OK Corral took place near here on 26 October 1881 • Miners in the mining towns set up miners' courts, which settled local matters such as disputed claims, but were powerless to stop gangs of outlaws or rustlers.   • In many areas, local citizens set up vigilante groups, who dished out summary justice to people suspected of crimes BBC Bitesize Notes

  50. Federal territory continued … • When the population reached 60,000, the territory became a state, with its own laws, government and finances, although there was still a US marshal with responsibility for criminals who broke federal laws. Slowly, helped by improved communications (for instance the telegraph), law and order was established.   • Among the lawmen who helped achieve this were Pat Garrett (who shot Billy the Kid) and Wyatt Earp (famous for his shoot-out with the Clanton gang at the OK Corral).   BBC Bitesize Notes