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Copy of Westward Expansion

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Ben Cheney

on 9 September 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Westward Expansion

Westward Expansion
Think: What materials is your house or apartment made of? (brick, wood, concrete, glass, etc)
Pair: Tell your partner
Share: Tell the class what your partner said
What We Think Of
The Reality
On the Great Plains, there were very few trees. Bringing building materials out west was very expensive. So, most homesteaders built
sod houses - or "soddies"
- out of bricks made from mud and grass.
Barbed Wire
was another important adaptation to the lack of materials on the Great Plains, allowing ranchers to keep their cattle secure and farmers to keep roaming cattle off their lands.
When farmers moved to the Great Plains, they brought with them the cast-iron plows that they had been using in the East; however,the thick sod of the Great Plains stuck to the plow, making it very difficult to plow a field. Blacksmith John Deere came up with a solution - the
Steel Plow
. The sod slid right off the polished surface.
Write It Out (Guided Question 2)
Answer the following in a paragraph (5-8 sentences):

What are some challenges Americans faced as they moved west and how did technological innovations address them?
Day 2
Westward Expansion and Adaptation
Day 3
Americanization of the Indians
Drawing Inferences
What do you think was going on in this video? Where do you think it was taking place? What do you think was the motivation for the people?
Land in Conflict
Most American Indians
didn't believe in individual ownership of land as the Americans did
, but they did believe in having rights to use land for hunting, farming, etc. To the Americans (and most of the European settlers they descended from), the fact that the Indians didn't OWN the land, meant that it was free for the taking. Thus the conflict began.
Violent Methods
One tactic that the U.S. used to remove the Indians was the
destruction of the buffalo
. They hired hunters to wipe them out in order to take away the Indians' main means of survival.
Indians were also moved, either by force or treaty, onto land called
(because it was
for them)
Indians often fought back against these tactics. This culminated in the last violent conflict between Indians and the U.S., the
Battle of Wounded Knee
. It is often called the Massacre at Wounded Knee, though, as the U.S. Army slaughtered around 300 men, women, and children.
Wounded Knee
mass grave burial at Wounded Knee
photo taken soon after the battle
A Less Violent Approach - Assimilation
The other method for solving the Indian problem was
assimilation or Americanization
. This involved making the Indians change (or assimilate) their culture into the American (white) culture.
Compare and Contrast
How did the man in the pictures assimilate into white culture? What other ways that you can't see do you think he assimilated?
The Dawes Act
A law that the U.S. used to encourage / force assimilation was the
Dawes Act
. This law
broke the reservation land up into individual family farms,
owned by the government. They then gave these farms away for free to individual Indians who would agree to assimilate (live in a house, farm, speak English, convert to Christianity, send kids to English-speaking school, etc.)
This had 3 effects:
1. Increase assimilation
2. destroy tribal authority
3. make money
(they sold most of the land to the highest white bidder instead of giving it away)
Making Connections - Guided Question 1
Answer the following in one paragraph (5-8 sentences):

How did the US government “Americanize” the Native Indians?
Day 4
Railroads and Farmers
What's Important?
List the top 3 technologies that you feel are essential to your life. For each one, explain why it's essential.
The Transcontinental Railroad
Making the journey west over land was very difficult, dangerous, and time-consuming. To truly link east and west, the U.S. needed a
Transcontinental Railroad
, a railroad that went across the continent.
The completion of the first transcontinental railroad (and another 4 after it) was a big success for the U.S. It was an even bigger success for the railroads, as they were granted huge amounts of land on either side of the tracks, which they then sold at big profits.
Manifest Destiny
was the idea that God meant for Americans to spread across the continent. It was used as justification for taking Indian land and removing them from it.
The movement of people to west was called
Westward Expansion
. One example was the
Klondike Gold Rush
, when people moved to Alaska in search of gold. A similar gold rush came to California. Another industry that led people west was the
Cattle Drive
, which plays a big role in Texas History.
People Moving West
People Moving West
The greatest bulk of people moving west came to the Great Plains region.
The Homestead Act

gave 160 acres of free land
to anyone willing to live on it for five years and make improvements.
Can You Here Me Now?
At first, living on the plains was extremely isolated. Two inventions helped remedy that. The
, invented by Samuel Morse, allowed people to send text messages along wire. Later, Alexander Graham Bell's
allowed instant voice communication, helping to close the frontier.
note: this is NOT Alexander Graham Bell,but an actor playing him in an ad.
Big Business = Big Problems
railroad industry quickly became the biggest, most profitable business in the world.
A few big companies dominated the market. They made so much money partly because they were given huge amounts of land by the government, selling what they didn't need for big profits. They also offered special rates (called rebates) to big business customers.
Bad Time to be a Farmer
A Party for the People
Farmers began to gather together in groups called Farmers' Alliances, demanding things like the government taking over the railroads or

(basing the dollar on both gold and silver)
. Eventually, they formed a political party, the
Populist Party
, which was a third party (not Democrat or Republican) that fought for farmer and worker rights. They threw their support behind Democratic presidential candidate
William Jennings Bryan
, who had become famous for his Cross of Gold Speech against the Gold Standard (basing money off of just gold). He lost and the party fell apart soon after.
It's Not All Bad, Though
The farmers had big success in their fight agains the railroads. Their organizations convinced the government to pass the
Interstate Commerce Act
This law created rules to make railroad rates more fair to small farmers
and businesses and created the
Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce these new rules
Think - Pair - Share
What do you think?

Does the government have a right to tell businesses how much they can charge? Tell your partner what you think and why.
Prior to Western Expansion (1800), there were 65,000,000 buffalo on the western plains. At its lowest point (1870), there were only 1,000! Crazy!
Why is this such a bad thing for the Native Americans?
Plains Native Americans used Buffalo for EVERYTHING! Remember how scarce other resources are on the plains.
Many farmers had a LOT of debt because of purchasing farm equipment
They couldn't pay off their debts because the railroads charged so much to ship grain
To fix the problem they tried to do 2 things
1) Get railroads start charging less
2) Decrease their debt
To get rid of their debt...
using both Gold and silver to back paper money

Why would this help?

Silver isn't worth as much as gold, so the value money would go down.
If the value of money goes down, their debt also goes down.
To influence the railroads...
Farmers became more politically involved and formed alliances to have political influence

They started demanding that the government regulate railroad businesses and make laws to keep prices down.

This eventually led to the Interstate Commerce Act - regulated railroads and was the first American law regulating businesses
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