Westward Movement • The population of America continued to move westward. • By 1850 the population center would be west of the Alleghenies.
Effects of the Wilderness • Young population constantly in motion.
Importance of wealth and the constant pursuit of wealth. John Jacob Astor America’s First Multi-Millionaire
Rough Pioneers • American pioneers were rough characters.
The wilderness required hard work and left little time for slacking. • “root, hog, or die”
Gamblers All • self-centered, provincial and isolationist
“self-reliance” • contrasted with the need to work together - log-rolling and barn raising.
Boasting and bluffing (poker playing) • gambling, drinking and fighting.
On a Mississippi steamboat four men were playing poker, three of which were professional gamblers, and the fourth, a hapless traveler from Natchez. Soon, the young naïve man had lost all his money to the rigged game. Devastated, the Natchez man planned to throw himself into the river; however, an observer prevented his suicide attempt, and then joined the card game with the “sharps.” In the middle of a high stakes hand, the stranger caught one of the professionals cheating and pulled a knife on the gambler, yelling, “Show your hand! If it contains more than five cards I shall kill you!” When he twisted the cheater’s wrist, six cards fell to the table. Immediately, the stranger took the $70,000 pot, returning $50,000 to the Natchez man and keeping $20,000 for his trouble. Shocked, the Natchez man stuttered, “Who the devil are you, anyway?” to which the stranger responded, “I am James Bowie.”
Effects on the Wilderness • Kentucky cane fields were burned off and planted with bluegrass.
Mountain men began to “trap out” the beaver in the Rocky Mountains.
The Buffalo • Vast herds of American Bison covered the Great Plains. • Estimates of the pre-European herd size vary from 30,000,000 to 70,000,000
The Hunt • Buffalo hunters, trading in furs and tongues, began to kill off the great herds.
Destruction of the Buffalo Unregulated killing of bison led to the reduction of the herds to no more than 1500 individuals in the mid to late 1800s.
The California Otter • The highly prized pelts of the Pacific Sea Otter led trappers to hunt the animals to near extinction.
American’s love of the Wild. • Americans praised the unspoiled wilderness and the beauty of nature. • This ideal of the idyllic came to be expressed in arts and literature.
George Catlin • Painter and student of the Native Americans, he wished to preserve the natural beauty of the west. • He proposed the creation of National Parks.
George Catlin Corn Buffalo Bulls Running
George Caleb Bingham Boatmen on the Missouri
The Hudson River School - Thomas Cole
Demographics • Population doubling every 25 years. • Population was moving farther west every ten years.
By 1860 there were 33 states and the US was the fourth most populous country in the western world. • By 1860 there were 43 cities over 20,000 pop.
Rapid urbanization led to many problems, and cities slowly began to build water and sewer services. Croton Aqueduct NYC
Immigration • Immigration tripled in the 1840’s and quadrupled in the 1850’s.
1844 The Potato Famine • Potato blight in Ireland led to famine and massive emigration.
Irish Catholics moved to the large cities, especially New York and Boston.
Women found work as housekeepers and men as workers building canals and railroads.
NINA • anti-Irish prejudice led to signs proclaiming “no Irish need apply.”
Anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia and Boston. • Blacks and Irish relations were bad.
"the raw Irishman in America is a nuisance, his son a curse. They never assimilate; the second generation simply shows an intensification of all the bad qualities of the first. . . .They are a burden and a misery to this country."
Irish immigrant societies like the Ancient Order of Hibernians helped to get better conditions.
Germans • 1830-1860 -- 1.5 million Germans came to America
Germans in America • Middle class farmers and political refugees. • Moved to the Mid-West .
Many were isolationists , most were better educated, and often abolitionists.
Nativism • Anti-foreigner feelings grow with the increase in new immigrants. • Anti-Catholic prejudice led to the creation of Catholic parochial schools.
1849 - the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner is formed. • Led to the creation of the American Party -- known as Know-Nothings.
1750 • The Industrial Revolution begins in Britain, but it is slow to take root in America.
Why? • Land was cheap in America. • Labor was scarce. • Capital investment was not plentiful. • Raw materials were undiscovered.
Consumers were scarce. • Long established British factories were more competitive. • Britain had a monopoly on Textile machinery.