Transforming the West. 15.3. Objectives. Analyze the impact of mining and railroads on the settlement of the West. Explain how ranching affected western development Discuss the ways various peoples lived in the West and their impact on the enviroment. Key Parts.
Objectives • Analyze the impact of mining and railroads on the settlement of the West. • Explain how ranching affected western development • Discuss the ways various peoples lived in the West and their impact on the enviroment
Key Parts • Miners Hope to Strike it Rich • Railroaders Open the West • Ranchers Build the Cattle Kingdom • Farmers Settle on Homesteads • Competition, Conflict, and Change
Introduction • Read section 15.3 • Answer questions 4-6 on pg. 512
Miners Hope to Strike it Rich • Gold and silver mining caused the first great boom in the West. • All of which had similar conditions; gold or silver was found then a mass movement of people moved to an area that was ill prepared for large numbers of people. • Pikes Peak, Colorado and Carson River valley in Nevada are classic examples of this.
Cont. • Miners and prospectors had dreams of striking it rich, but others saw an opportunity to make their fortune by supplying the needs of miners for food, clothing, and supplies. • This large movement of people stemmed various situations dealing with law. • To limit violence and administer justice in areas with out jails and judges miners set up rules and appointed law enforcers called vigilantes.
Cont.. • As towns developed and the mining soil was rich, towns would hire real marshals and sheriffs like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. • The problem with many of these communities was they were “boomtowns;” which just means they last only as long as the gold and silver. • Initially mining was done by individuals who mined in the streambeds in the surface level soil. • In the 1870s big business owners began to mine deep underground in mineshafts to extract more gold. (they would often recruit workers from China and Mexico)
Railroaders Open the West • As industry in the West grew the need for a railroad to transport goods increased as well. • The transcontinental railroad became a big theme in the West. • Unlike Europe whose railroads were owned and paid for by the government, the United States wanted private investors to fund the railroad.
Cont. • The United States government did however provide loans for railroad builders and land grants to build the railroad on. • Simultaneously in 1863 the Central Pacific started laying track eastward from Sacramento California, while the Union Pacific headed westward from Omaha Nebraska. • The construction was very difficult and costly.
Cont.. • Central Pacific hired recruits from China and set them to work under harsh contracts with little regard for their safety. • Union Pacific used Irish immigrants in the same fashion. • The two tracks finally met at Promontory, Utah in 1869. • The United States began to shrink and settlement intensified.
Cont… • The railroad had far reaching effects. They tied the nation together geographically, moved products and people, and spurred industrial development. • This caused business owners to move to where the railroads where and develop, because they could produce a product and almost immediately ship it wherever it needed to go.
Ranchers Build the Cattle Kingdom • The second major boom in the West was cattle ranching. • Texas had already been raising massive amounts of livestock before and eastern settlers moved in. • They used an open range system that allowed their cattle to free graze. There were no fences, they identified their cattle by branding. (steel mold that would be heated and pressed into the hide of the cow to cause scaring)
Cont. • The cows would roam for food in the winter and in the spring cowboys would comb the thousands of acres to round up their livestock. • Once rounded up the cowboys began a massive cattle drive to take the cows up north to the railroad for transport. • The trek would sometimes take months to reach Montana or Colorado.
Cont.. • Cowboy’s work was dangerous, difficult, low paying. • Cattle drives often concluded in railway towns such as Dodge City, Kansas. This is where the infamous Doc Holliday, Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok came to life. • Open range ranching flourished for a decade, by the mid 1880s it came to an end.
Farmers Settle on Homesteads • Droughts and harsh winters ended the open range ranching, farmer began to fence in their land and plant hay for their cattle to feed on. • In 1862 the government passed the Homestead act; which offered farm plots of 160 acres to anyone willing to live on the land for five years, dig a well, and build a road. • Life was hard for these people who lived in the plains, they were plagued with windstorms, blizzards, droughts, and locusts.
Cont. • Most of these settlers couldn’t afford wood for housing in this treeless area. So they cut 3 foot sections of sod and stacked them like brick to make homes. • Life was bleak for these people until the invention of the windmill, plow, and barbed wire. • Congress passed the Morrill Act in 1862 which granted land to the states for the purpose of establishing agricultural colleges.
Competition Conflict and Change • Conflicts between miners, ranchers, sheepherders, and farmers led to violence and acts of sabotage. • Grazing cattle ruined farmers crops, and sheep gnawed grass so close to the ground that cattle could not graze, and miners ruined the water with their mining pollution.
Cont. • The West had the widest diversity of people in the nation. • With 20% of the nations total population, it was home to more than 80% of the nation’s Asian, Mexican, and Native American residents. • Ethnic tensions began to rise with the diversity of the people.
Cont.. • The last major land rush took place in1889 when the federal government opened the Oklahoma Territory to homesteaders. • On April 22, 1889 the “boomers” were released to stake their claim but the found that much of the best land had already been taken by “sooners” who had sneaked in to the territory and staked their claims before the official opening.
Cont… • The next year in 1890 a national census was taken and concluded that there was no longer a square mile of the United States that did not have at least a few white residents. • The report said “The country no longer had a frontier.”