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Chapter 13: The American West. Big Picture: In the late 1800s, the federal government relocated Native Americans to vastly smaller homelands. Immigrants, African Americans, and white Americans eagerly moved into the new frontier to mine, ranch, and establish farms.

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Chapter 13 the american west
Chapter 13: The American West

Big Picture: In the late 1800s, the federal government relocated Native Americans to vastly smaller homelands. Immigrants, African Americans, and white Americans eagerly moved into the new frontier to mine, ranch, and establish farms.

Chapter 13 section 1 the fight for the west
Chapter 13 Section 1: The Fight for the West

Main idea: Native Americans fought the movement of settlers westward, but the U.S. military and the persistence of American settlers proved too strong to resist.

Stage set for conflict
Stage Set for Conflict

Culture of the Plains Indians

  • Native American way of life depended on wild buffalo.

    • Main source of food, clothing, shoes, shelter, and supplies.

    • In 1800 there were approximately 60 million buffalo, by 1894 there were as few as 25.

  • Nomadic: moved from place to place, followed the migrations of the buffalo.

  • Early 1800s Native Americans were forcibly removed, during 1850s Native Americans were moved to reservations.

The indian wars
The Indian Wars

The Sand Creek Massacre

  • Cheyenne raided American ranches in 1864.

  • US Army offered them forgiveness if they returned to their reservation.

  • Returned to their reservation where US Army opened fire upon them killing 150 people.

  • Sand Creek Massacre outraged many Americans, but Chivington was never punished.


  • After Sand Creek enraged Native Americans increased raids on American settlers.

  • US Government pressured Native Americans to sign treaties that would move them to reservations.

    • Sioux: Second Treaty of Fort Laramie The Comanche; Kiowa, Cheyenne: Medicine Lodge Treaty.

The indian wars1
The Indian Wars

Important Battles

  • Battle of Little Bighorn:

    • Lakota Sioux conducting raids against white settlers

    • US government ordered them to stop but they refused

    • Military invaded, Sioux killed military

    • Big victory for Native Americans.

  • Battle of Palo Duro Canyon:

    • US Army discovered Indians making camps in Texas Panhandle

    • they sent in troops and slaughtered the Native Americans

    • Ended the Indian Wars in the Southern Plains.

The indian wars2
The Indian Wars

Ghost Dance

  • Avision by Wovoka that showed Indian dead alive, buffalo return, and settlers would leave. Gave Indians hope.

  • US Government attempted to arrest Sitting Bullin December 1890, fight broke out, Sitting Bull killed. US Troops took Sioux to Wounded Kneecamp.

    Wounded Knee Massacre:

  • In a struggle over a gun, the gun fired, and both Sioux and Americans began shooting each other. 300 Sioux were killed in total.

    • Americans outraged.

    • End of conflict between Native Americans and the US Army.

The indian wars3
The Indian Wars

Resistance in the Northwest

  • Nez Percéwere forced to move onto a small reservation in Idaho, Chief Joseph agreed.

  • Hostilities between Americans and Native Americans broke out and Nez Percé fled.

  • Chief Joseph and the Nez Percé were forced to surrender and return to small reservations in Kansas and Idaho.

Life on reservations
Life on Reservations


  • Native Americans must adopt American values, beliefs, and practices and abandon Native American identity.

    Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA):

  • Issued wide range orders attacked Native American values.

  • Native American children forced to go to school, only allowed to speak English, and could not practice Indian culture.

The Dawes Act

  • Broke up reservations and turned Indians into individual property owners

    • Each head of family would receive 160 acres

    • each single person over 18 would receive 80 acres

    • each child would receive 40 acres

    • Land was not good and Native Americans could not do anything with it

Chapter 13 section 2 mining and ranching
Chapter 13 Section 2: Mining and Ranching

Main Idea: Many people sought fortunes during the mining and cattle booms of the American West.

Striking gold and silver
Striking Gold and Silver

  • Comstock Lode: Mine in Nevada that attracted thousands of miners for silver.

  • Thousands went in search of gold or silver but came away empty handed.

  • Camps that were created near mines became towns.

Mining as big business
Mining as Big Business

Different Types of Mining

  • Placer Mining: Minerals are found in loose sand or gravel, also known as “panning for gold.”

  • Hydraulic Mining:Used water under high pressure to blast away dirt, exposing the minerals underneath. Large scale placer mining.

  • Hard Rock Mining: Cut deep into the rock to extract the ore.

  • As mining progressed mining companies were created instead of individual prospectors.

The cattle boom
The Cattle Boom

  • After Civil War the demand for beef increased.

  • Texas longhorn a new breed of cattle; hardy, could travel long distances without much water and live on grass alone

  • Cattle Trails: Trails that ranchers followed from Texas to major rail centers. Drives usually lasted three months.

    • Chisholm Trail is the most famous, ran from San Antonio, Texas to Abilene, Kansas.

  • Joseph Glidden invented barbed wirethat allowed for enclosed farms rather than free range cattle, this transformed the cattle business into big business.

Chapter 13 section 3 farming the plains
Chapter 13 Section 3: Farming the Plains

Main idea: The government promoted the settlement of the West, offering free or cheap land to those willing to put in the hard work of turning the land into productive farms.

Incentives for settlement
Incentives for Settlement

New Legislation

  • Homestead Act: Allowed any head of household over the age of 21 to claim 160 acres of land.

    • Required to build a house and farm the land for 5 yearsbefore they were granted full ownership.

    • Nearly 2 million people applied for land under this act.

  • Pacific Railway Act: Gave land to railroad companies to encourage construction of railroad and telegraph lines.

  • Morrill Act: Gave land to states for colleges for agriculture and the mechanic arts.

    • Significant because it was the first time the government provided assistance for higher education.

Incentives for settlement1
Incentives for Settlement

Closing of the Frontier

  • By 1890 enough people had moved West that the US Census Bureau declared the frontier was closed.

  • Frederick Jackson Turner wrote an essay “The American Frontier” that stated that the frontier was vital to American development.

Migrating west
Migrating West

Who Moved West?

  • White settlers moved West from the Mississippi Valley.

    • Mostly middle class farmers and business people

  • African American settlers came West due to violence and slavery in the South, called Exodusters

  • European settlers came West to farm

  • Chinese settlers became farm laborers due to laws that barred them from owning their own land

New ways of farming
New Ways of Farming

New Techniques

  • James Oliver created a new plow with a sharper edge that helped farmers plow their fields with less effort

  • Large farms developed by companies created bonanza farms that generated a lot of profit. By the 1890s most bonanza farms had been broken up.