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Ch. 2 Settling the West
Transcript of Ch. 2 Settling the West
Demands for minerals rose as the US changed from a farming nation to an industrial nation. Mining also led to the building of railroads to connect the mines to the factories back east.
A boomtown exists because something was discovered in an area that led to thousands of people flocking there almost overnight.
Examples of these are:
Virginia City, Nevada. Silver was discovered by Henry Comstock.
Denver, Colorado. Gold discovered in a mountain near Pikes Peak.
Tombstone, Arizona. Silver was discovered
Ranching and Cattle Drives
uses water sprayed at a high pressure against a hill or mountain to expose the minerals underneath the dirt, gravel and rock.
This is devastating to the local environment. The sediment washes into the rivers, causing flooding. This destroyed thousands of acres of what was once good farmland.
involves building deep shafts and miners go underground.
uses simple tools like picks, shovels and pans.
uses man made trenches to divert the flow of a river.
1. What major agricultural enterprise became vital to the settlement of the southern Great Plains? Why was it so important?
2. How did the railroad companies help to encourage settlement of the Great Plains? What other human geographic factors affected settlement of the Great Plains?
3. What factors caused social conflicts between settlers on the Great Plains and Native Americans?
4. How did the physical geography of the Great Plains impact the farmers who settled there?
5. What was the Homestead Act and how did it contribute to the closing of the frontier?
Settling the West
The Great Plains
The vast region of the prairie west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada.
One remarkable development in the post-Civil War generation was the accelerating westward movement. More land became farm land in those 25 years than in the previous 250. Gold, silver, copper, and iron ore were mined, and transcontinental railroads were built. Natives were pushed off their land. Forests plowed down. Grasslands destroyed. These factors will later bring destructive erosion, floods and dust bowls, and the death of an entire culture.
Miners, Ranchers, Farmers, and the American Indian Collide
is a vast area of grassland that the federal government owned. Ranchers were able to graze their herds free and unrestricted.
The railroad allowed for the
of cattle to go from Texas up to rail lines in Kansas.
The invention of the
blocked cattle trails.
The era of the open range ended, and
became ranch hands.
Challenges on the Plains included: prairie fires, grasshoppers, blizzards, isolation
The Homestead Act
The railroad stimulated the growth of the west. Settlers were offered free land, called a homestead, if they lived on the land for 5 years. Up to 160 acres per person.
Many settlers made their houses out of sod, due to a lack of trees. They became known as
Bonanza farms were formed when large homesteads were combined and the farmers formed companies, invested in property and equipment, and hired laborers as needed.
Farmers had to use a method called Dry Farming, which involves planting seed deep in the ground where there is moisture.
On April 22, 1889, the government opened one of the last large territories for settlement. This became known as the Oklahoma Land Rush.
A year later, it was declared that there was no longer a true frontier left in America.
The "closing of the frontier" marked an end of an era. Frederick Jackson Turner wrote that the frontier had provided American with a "
of social discontent." It had always been a place Americans could go to start over.
The End of an Era
For centuries, the Great Plains were home to many groups of Native Americans.
After years of being lied to by the American government, many uprisings occurred.
The Dakota Sioux Uprising in 1862
The Sand Creek Massacre in Colorade in 1864
The Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876
The Tragedy of Wounded Knee in 1890
Americanization and the Dawes Act
Many felt that to save the Indians, they had to assimilate into the American way of life.
Indian boarding schools, off reservations, were formed in the 1880s. Children were required to speak English, cut their hair, choose and English name, dress in American clothing, attend church, and learn vocational skill.
The reservations were divided into allotments for farming and ranching and each individual was given a plot of land.
The assimilation policy ended in failure. By 1924, Congress passed the Citizenship Act granting Native Americans citizenship and by 1934 their lands were restored into reservations and they were permitted to elect their own governments.
Which is which?