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The West

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Chad Lehrmann

on 11 September 2014

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Transcript of The West

Why go West, young man?
cheap/free land
Railroads (transportation)
Business opportunity
Change of scenery
Manifest destiny

The West
Frederick Jackson Turner - "The Significance of the Frontier in American History“ – explained the importance of the frontier in American history

Cheap Free Land
Homestead Act – 160 acres to anyone who would improve the land for 5 years

When they got there they found:
no trees
Built homes into small hills/ravines
Used prairie turf or mud (sod)
Called a “soddy”
Warm in winter/cool in summer

Cities and western populations exploded because of the railroad.

Railroad companies
1850-1871 – free land from federal govt (10 miles on each side of track)
1. built track
2. sold rest to businesses/individuals

-Central Pacific – Sacramento, CA and built east
- Union Pacific – Omaha, NE and built west

Transcontinental RR made by - Civil war veterans, Irish, Chinese immigrants, former slaves and Mexican immigrants worked on the railroads.

Promontory Point, Utah
Backlash: Asians Excluded
Chinese Exclusion Act
The Gentleman’s Agreement
National Origin’s Act

Backlash: Credit Mobilier
Congress gave land and loans to UP to build the RR
UP hired Credit Mobilier Co. to build tracks
CM overcharged, and profits flowed to owners of the CM
Congress owned shares of the CM as a tradeoff for continued grants and loans
Not investigated until 3 years after completion of Transcontinental RR
Brought down Vice President and several Congressmen

How the West was Lost
Govt officials = $ for native movement
Indians = subsidies ($), food, shelter
Fraud = misleading numbers, rotten meat, diseased blankets

Indian Removal Act
1877-The Dawes Act:
"Americanizing" the Indian
1. Each Indian family head be allotted a 160 acre farm out of reservation lands.
2. Abandoned tribal practices=American citizenship.
3. "Surplus" reservation lands sold white settlers. 90 million of 140 million acres was “surplus.”

Why the Native Americans Lost
1. Buffalo hide used for clothes and belts
2. Buffalo hunting became popular.
3. gov’t paid for buffaloes killed to move Indians onto reservations

Cattle Ranching Increased- Buffalo Decreased
Manifest Destiny-
the widely held belief in the United States that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent.
Advanced Weapons
Klondike Gold Rush
Folks already in California rushed north

Utilized Placer Mining techniques-
ancient method of using water to excavate, transport, concentrate, and recover heavy minerals from alluvial or placer deposits.
After Civil War- 5 mil. wild cattle roamed TX
Cow Towns
1st: 1867, Abilene, KS by J.G. McCoy
Cattle Barons
Charles Goodnight & Oliver Loving- Goodnight Loving Trail
The cattle bonanza ended in the mid-1880's, when a combination of over-expansion, price declines, cold winters, dry summers, and cattle fever drove thousands into bankruptcy.

Ag Ed
Morrill Act of 1862 and 1890 - gave federal land to the states to help finance agricultural colleges.
Falling crop prices combined with drought and lack of education lead to failing farms.
Ag Ed led to new Inventions and dry farming

Cyrus McCormick- Reapers
The Grain Drill
John Deere
Joseph Glidden
George Custer
Sitting Bull
Chief Joseph
American Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
"BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and house of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all non citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided That the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property. (Approved June 2, 1924)"
Further railroad abuses would lead to the Interstate Commerce Commission...
Full transcript