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Copy of Miners, Ranchers, Farmers, Railroads

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on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Miners, Ranchers, Farmers, Railroads

Miners, Ranchers, Farmers, and Railroads
The West, 1850-1900
1848-49: California Gold Rush begins. Gold and silver will be found throughout the West.
Miners are mainly young, single men with a desire to strike it rich.
A few prospectors would strike it rich, but most of the money was made by large mining corporations.
There were large numbers of miners from other countries. Some places enacted Foreign Miners' Taxes to discourage miners from Mexico and China.
Economic Impact
The added gold and silver...
Boosted the post-Civil War economy
Increased foreign investment
Increased US involvement in global economy
The Homestead Act sold Western land at low prices to developers, leading to people owning huge tracts of land. What are we going to do with it?
Ranchers will fence huge tracts of land for herds of cattle, closing out the Native Americans.
Cattle Barons:
Extremely wealthy ranchers; owned HUGE tracts of land and herds of cattle.
Myth: Idealized hero, white, wealthy, lived in "lawless" western towns ("Wild West")
Reality: Cowboys were young, poorly-paid, and did hard labor. 20% were black or Hispanic. Hard work led to good race relations. The job they did provided an important food source for increasing populations in the East and for miners.
The Western frontier was originally considered unsuitable for farming because there was so little rain. There were no trees, mostly dry grasses (prairie). Also, fears about Native Americans.
New technology will make it possible to farm the prairie, and the prairie will become extremely important for the nation's food production.
Barbed Wire
Fences cattle without wood
Steel Plow
Cuts through sod so you can plant stuff
Method of farming arid areas using drought-resistant crops
Pumped water up from the ground
Bonanza Farms
Huge, commercially owned farms that grew cash crops
The American Transcontinental Railroad is completed in 1869.
Economic Impact
Cattle from ranches could be shipped to Eastern markets in large numbers
Government-business interaction: Railroads were privately owned, but the US government helped out by giving land grants (free land) to railroad owners
Increases settlement, stimulates growth of towns
Increases demand for Native American land
Between 1864-1896, 10 territories become states
Full transcript