Settling the Far West

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, US History
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Two Visions of the West  “Mythic West”


 Pioneers & gunslingers  Individualism, freedom, & opportunity

“Tragic West”  Greed, irresponsibility, exploitation  Destroyed wildlife & nearly exterminated Native Americans

Reasons for Moving West

 PUSH Factors  Civil War  Failure to achieve prosperity in the East  Repression

PULL Factors  Railroad  Land availability  Natural resources

The Transcontinental Railroad

  Civil War made transcontinental RR possible – Pacific Railroads Act (1862)  A race between Union Pacific and Central Pacific ended in Promontory, Utah (1869)  Chinese recruited for RR work were later subject to racism  Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) due to resentment of white workers

Diversity in the West   Women in the West had greater equality within the family  Large numbers of immigrants  African American “Exodusters” fled post-Reconstruction discrimination and poverty  “Buffalo soldiers” in the Indian Wars

Mining   Began with California Gold Rush in 1849  Comstock Lode (1873) generated vast wealth  Permanent settlements resulted  In late 1800s, mining turned commercial

Great Sioux Wars   Violations of Fort Laramie Treaty (1851) brought conflict  Sand Creek Massacre (1864) and other violence led to new Indian policies  Great Sioux Wars were the result of Custer’s expedition into Sioux hunting grounds  Despite victory at Little Bighorn, Sioux eventually gave up and were moved to reservations

Indian Resistance Ends  “Tell your people that since the Great Father promised that we should never be removed, we have been moved five times… I think you had better put the Indians on wheels and you can run them around wherever you wish.” – Chief Spotted Tail of the Sioux “I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed… The old men are dead… I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find… Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.” – Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Ghost Dance Movement   Movement started by Wovoka in 1888 in order to see Indian lands returned  When Lakota Sioux defied the ban on the Ghost Dance, this led to the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890)

Decimation of the Buffalo

 Resulted from:  Overhunting  Climate change  Competition for grasslands  Disease  Barbed wire

Remaking Indian Policy  “Many, if not most, of our Indian wars have had their origin in broken promises and acts of injustice on our part.” – Rutherford B. Hayes  A Century of Dishonor (1881) brought attention to the Indians’ plight  Dawes Severalty Act (1887) was central to the new policy of “Americanizing” Indians

Homesteading   Homestead Act (1862) and railroad land grants made farm land available for purchase  Land is cheap, but life was hard – many claims abandoned  New technologies played a significant role in conquering the West  Small farmers who stayed struggled with indebtedness, leading to political movement through the Grange

Cattle Drives   Shortage of meat after the Civil War created opportunities  Cowtowns emerged, but the boom was shortlived

End of the Frontier   1890 census showed no end to consistent settlement, which prompted the issuance of Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier thesis  Turner believed that American character was shaped by the existence of new areas to conquer “Four centuries from the discovery of America, at the end of a hundred years under the Constitution, the frontier has gone and with its going has closed the first period of American history.” – Frederick Jackson Turner

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