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Settling the West

Settling the West

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Settling the West

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  1. Settling the West 1865 - 1900

  2. Westward Expansion • Manifest Destiny • US should expand from Atlantic to Pacific • First to go were miners, ranchers, and farmers • At the expense of Native Americans

  3. Expansion (cont) • The Louisiana Purchase (1803) took America to the Rockies

  4. Expansion (cont) • The Mexican American War (1846-48) took America from coast to coast

  5. Expansion (cont) • Alaska • Purchased from Russia for $7.2 million or 2.5 cents per acre • Became known as “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox” • Gold discovered in 1890s

  6. Railroads • Pacific Railway Act (1862) – construction of transcontinental railroad • Union Pacific • 10,000 workers – Civil War vets, Irish Immigrants, farmers, miners, ex-cons • Central Pacific • 10,000 Chinese workers • Met at Promontory, Utah

  7. Native Americans • Pushed off their lands in east to reservations on the Great Plains • Grassland extending through the west-central portion of U.S.

  8. Native Americans (cont) • 1834 – Congress declared Great Plains as one big reservation

  9. Native Americans (cont) • As Natives are pushed further, leads to fighting • Sand Creek Massacre, Fetterman’s Massacre, Little Big Horn (aka Custer’s Last Stand)

  10. Native Americans (cont) • Battle of Wounded Knee • After the death of Sitting Bull, army feared an uprising • Troops started rounding up and disarming Sioux • Over 300 unarmed Native Americans killed • Marked the end of the Indian Wars

  11. Opening the West • Dawes Act of 1877 • Natives assimilated – absorbed into society as landowners and citizens • Reservations broken into allotments or small plots

  12. Cattle Ranchers • Open Range – a vast area found in the Great Plains that was open to cattle grazing • Was perfect for the Texas Longhorn • A hardy descendent from Spanish cattle brought to Mexico

  13. Ranchers (cont) • To meet the demand for beef, cowboys began taking cattle on long drives • Cattle trails, such as the Chisholm Trail, opened up • Lasted about 3 months • 1 cowboy/250 head • Earned about $25/month

  14. Ranchers (cont) • Long Drives ended because of: • Barbed wire • Ranchers turned to high-grade cattle

  15. Beginnings of Settlement • Homestead Actof 1862 • Settler could file for atract of public land for $10

  16. Settlement (cont) • Life on the plains was difficult • Harsh environment • Summer over 100°F, little rain • Winter brought blizzards and extreme cold • Prairie fires and swarms of grasshoppers

  17. Settlement (cont) • Farmers calledsodbusters • No trees, houses called soddies • Many lost homes due to drought, wind erosion, overuse of the land