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The American West. Conflicts with Native Americans. During the early 1800’s Native Americans were forced to move west during the Trail of Tears By the 1850’s white settlers wanted the land in the west as well
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Conflicts with Native Americans During the early 1800’s Native Americans were forced to move west during the Trail of Tears By the 1850’s white settlers wanted the land in the west as well The government decided to take the Native American’s land and send them to reservations. This was done to open up land for settlement and break up the power of the Plains Indians
The Indian Wars Several conflicts arose during this time between the U.S. Army and Native Americans Sand Creek Massacre (1864) – U.S. Army was taking a group of Cheyenne Indians back to their reservation in Colorado after the Cheyenne had raided several farms. The troops then attacked killing 150 Cheyenne. Congress condemned the actions but did not punish the commander. Battle of Little Big Horn (1876) SHEG
The Indian Wars Wounded Knee Massacre (1890)- Army troops captured several of Sitting Bull’s followers. Soldiers demanded their weapons and fighting broke out. Women and children fled but they were pursued by troops with machine guns. 300 Sioux men, women, and children died Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Indian Resistance Chief Joseph – leader of the Nez Perce tribe. Members of his tribe killed several white settlers and the Army pursued the entire tribe all the way to Canada. Upon surrender Chief Joseph said “My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever”. Geronimo – leader of the Apache. Fled the reservation and led raids on the military in Arizona. Was captured in 1886 and held as prisoner of war.
Life on the Reservation The goal of the reservation system was to assimilate Native Americans – abandon their traditional culture and live as white Americans, a process known as Americanization. Government run schools were set up where students had to speak English and wear “traditional” clothing Dawes Act (1887) – broke up several Indian reservations and gave the best land to whites. Native Americans were given what land was left.
Cowboys (not the kind in Dallas) Cowboys: Myth vs. Truth Cattle ranching became popular in the west because of the open, flat land. Cowboys would drive cattle from the plains to a railroad town where they would be shipped to meat-packing centers (usually Chicago) A key invention for ranching was barbed wire
Mining In 1850 gold was found in California sparking a gold rush In 1859 silver was found in Nevada (Comstock Lode) Mining communities sprang up all over the west, including Denver, Colorado • Most miners worked for mining companies in dangerous conditions, usually without unions
Farming In its natural state most of the west is unsuitable for farming In 1862 Congress passed three acts to encourage settlement in the west 1) Homestead Act – allowed any head of household over 21 to claim 160 acres of land. Only required to build a home, farm the land for 5 years 2) Pacific Railway Act – gave millions of acres of land to railroad companies 3) Morrill Act – gave states land to build agricultural colleges
Farming People moving west went because of many push-pull factors White settlers – mostly middle class, could afford supplies and transportation African-American settlers – many left due to Black Codes and the KKK in the South European settlers – saw economic opportunities in the United States. Some, including Mennonites came for religious reasons. Chinese settlers – many came to work on railroads. Mostly worked on farms due to laws barring them from owning land
Challenges and Solutions Farmers endured harsh climates: hot in the summer, bitter cold in the winter Wood for houses was limited so many settlers built homes into the sides of hills (dugouts) or out of sod Large companies started creating giant bonanza farms
Farming Reform Movements In the late 1800’s farmers experienced falling crop prices and huge amounts of debt. National Grange – a group that wanted to persuade state legislatures to regulate railroad rates. The government responded by passing the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 which called for reasonable railroad rates. In the 1870’s another group called the Farmers’ Alliance wanted the government to print more paper money to boost crop prices. However, in 1873 Congress adopted the gold standard which lowered the amount of currency in circulation
Farming Reform Movements The Farmers’ Alliance created their own political party known as the Populist Party – called for bank regulation, government ownership of railroads, and unlimited coinage of silver. In the election of 1896 the Republican William McKinley supported the gold standard, while the Democrat William Jennings Bryan supported free coinage of silver. Bryan gave a speech known as the “cross of gold” speech which won the support of the Populists but McKinley still won the election thanks to the support of big business.