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The Western Frontier A Look at the Wild West.

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Presentation on theme: "The Western Frontier A Look at the Wild West."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Western Frontier A Look at the Wild West

2 Introduction WHAT IS THE FRONTIER?
It is the furthest extent of settled land It is the open range of the midwest and west

The belief that the United States was destined to control north America from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico

4 WHY MOVE WESTWARD? Country—growth and pride
Land—fresh, cheap; a refuge Wealth—mining and agriculture Adventure—new challenges; leave the past behind Religious freedom

5 Louisiana Purchase (1803) 13 Original Colonies Red River Basin (1818) Oregon Country (1846) War for Independence (1783) Mexican Cession (1848) Gadsden Purchase (1853) Florida Purchase (1819) Mexican Annexation (1845)

6 MOVING WEST A. The U.S. controlled the continent from coast to coast, but the land “in the middle” was not settled or developed

7 B. The Government Passes Legislation to grant land
1. Pacific Railway Acts of & 1864 gave railroad companies 10 square miles of land on each side of the track for every mile of track laid >> they resold the land to settlers

8 2. Morrill Land Grant Act (1862). distributed millions of acres
2. Morrill Land Grant Act (1862) distributed millions of acres of land to state governments >> they could sell the land to found “land-grant” colleges 3. Homestead Act (1862) offered 160 acres of land to settlers who a. were 21 or heads of families




12 b. were citizens or immigrants who had applied for citizenship
c. paid a $10 registration fee d. built a house within 6 months e. farmed the land for 5 years before claiming ownership

13 4. Oklahoma Act of 1889. opened the last of the
4. Oklahoma Act of opened the last of the frontier to new settlers; the “Sooners” sneaked into the territory before the official start and claimed the best land

14 Base camp before the 1889 land run
Base camp before the 1889 land run. Boomers at Arkansas City, Kansas, Photographer: William S. Prettyman.

15 Boomers on Kansas state line, April 19th, 1889. Photographer: William S. Prettyman.

16 Waiting for land run at Purcell, Oklahoma Territory, 1889
Waiting for land run at Purcell, Oklahoma Territory, Photographer: William S. Prettyman.


18 Oklahoma City - April 29, 1889 Seven Days After the Land Run of 1889
©2002 Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. and Wayne Cooper

19 C. People Who Moved West 1. Speculators: people who bought large areas of land in hopes of reselling it for a profit 2. Homesteaders: people who rushed to accept offers of free land

20 3. Exodusters: African-. American settlers who. moved west; took their
3. Exodusters: African- American settlers who moved west; took their name from the biblical account of the Jews escaping slavery in Egypt 4. Solid Folk: people who settled down if they liked it or returned east if they didn’t

21 This poster urges Exodusters to move from Kentucky to Kansas
This poster urges Exodusters to move from Kentucky to Kansas. Kansas State Historical Society

22 "Negro Exodusters en route to Kansas, fleeing from the yellow fever, "
Photomural from engraving. Harpers Weekly, 1870.

23 Exodusters waiting for a steamboat to carry them westward in the late 1870's.

24 5. Boomers: people who kept. relocating from town to
5. Boomers: people who kept relocating from town to town looking for a quick fortune, but seldom staying long enough to make a living D. Problems Facing Settlers 1. The extremely poor couldn’t afford the “free” land

25 2. Land companies claimed most of the land, not individuals
3. Resettlement of the Native Americans 4. The “Anglos” (white easterners) overwhelmed the Mexicanos (Spanish- speaking westerners) who lived in the area

26 5. Scarce resources (water, trees, etc.)
6. Harsh climate (blizzards in winter, heat in summer, prairie fires, insects) 7. Squatters moved onto land that did not belong to them

27 FARMING THE WEST A. Overcoming Problems
1. Irrigation systems used dams, canals and sloping fields to control water flow 2. Windmills drew water from below ground 3. Settlers burned dried buffalo manure and built houses of sod



30 B. New Farming Techniques
4. The government created the Department of Agriculture to help the farmer B. New Farming Techniques 1. New equipment: “self-binding” harvester, combine, chilled- iron plow (James Oliver), seed-drill 2. Barbed wire

31 http://www. astro. virginia





36 3. Bonanza farms: farms owned. by large companies and
3. Bonanza farms: farms owned by large companies and operated like factories with machinery, professional managers and specialized laborers 4. Dry farming: planting crops that require less water and keeping fields free of weeds

37 Aerial view of bonanza farm in the late 1800’s to early 1900s.

38 C. Complaints of the Farmers
1. Low agricultural prices – increased output, competition 2. Insufficient and expensive credit – high interest rates, defaults on loans 3. High rates charged by middlemen

39 4. High industrial prices – machinery, etc.
5. Tariffs favored industry and hurt agriculture 6. Demonetizing of silver (no more minted coins made from silver)

40 D. Responses of the Farmers
1. Granger Movement (Patrons of Husbandry) – an organization of local farmers’ clubs to protect their interests a. cooperatives: groups of farmers who pooled their resources to share work and buy supplies



43 b. wholesale: buying or. selling something in. large quantities to
b. wholesale: buying or selling something in large quantities to lower prices c. worked to advance political interest of farmers d. provided social activities

44 2. Farmers’ Alliance: organized. to unify concerns of farmers
2. Farmers’ Alliance: organized to unify concerns of farmers with miners and factory workers 3. The Populist Party a. farmers and labor unions formed a new political party 1) free and unlimited coinage of silver

45 2) graduated income tax 3) government ownership of transportation and communication systems 4) shorter working hours 5) restrictions on immigration b. the party was short-lived – Democrats adopted some policies & prosperity returned

46 RAILROADS & MINING A. A Rush for Gold.
1. People had been looking for gold since the ’49 rush in California 2. Discovery of silver in Nevada (the Comstock Lode) led to more strikes 3. By the late 1800s people flocked to the West, Canada, and Alaska



49 B. Mining Techniques 1. Panning
2. Placer mining: shoveled loose dirt into boxes and then ran water over it, causing the heavy materials to sink to the bottom 3. Patio Process: using mercury to extract silver from ore


51 http://www. worldofrockhounds

52 http://www. arthistoryclub

53 4. Hydraulic mining: water shot. at high pressure ripped away
4. Hydraulic mining: water shot at high pressure ripped away gravel and dirt to expose the minerals beneath 5. Hard-rock mining: sinking deep shafts to obtain ore locked in veins of rock

54 C. “Boom to Bust” GOLD OR SILVER STRIKE
Miners arrive to build a tent city Merchants arrive to supply miners Wood-frame structures replace tents BOOM TOWN Mining production falls Miners move on Stores close and merchants leave Town is abandoned GHOST TOWN

55 D. Mining: An Overview 1. Few people struck it rich
2. Once the easily accessible deposits were “worked out”, only large companies could afford to mine 3. More money could be made supplying the miners than mining 4. Lawlessness and violence were common in mining areas

56 E. Railroaders 1. The federal government helped the railroad companies because it would benefit the entire nation; a subsidy is financial aid from the government 2. Two railroad companies started a transcontinental railroad

57 Transcontinental Railroad
Central Pacific Union Pacific Promontory Point, UT 1869

58 3. the completion of the railroad. sparked a spirit of unity in
3. the completion of the railroad sparked a spirit of unity in the country 4. The railroads allowed for rapid transport of people and supplies 5. New states admitted (NV, CO, ND, MT, WA)

59 F. Problems with the railroad
1. labor was scarce >> dangerous, low pay, hard work 2. high rates because of no competition 3. discrimination regarding rates >> rebates to large shippers, rural service high 4. corruption >> bribery, free passes to government officials

60 RANCHERS & COWHANDS A. Ranching in the West
1. Spaniards raised Texas longhorns in the Southwest 2. Sheepherding also profitable, but conflicted with cattle 3. The government allowed cattle ranchers to use public lands as open range (free grazing land)

61 4. Families and large companies. established ranches with vast
4. Families and large companies established ranches with vast grassland to feed their herds 5. During the round-up, ranchers would drive their cattle from the open range to a central location

62 B. The Cattle Industry 1. Ranchers employed cowhands to tend cattle and drive herds to market 2. A cowboy’s skills and dress came from Spanish and Mexican vaqueros

63 3. The cattle drives followed. specific routes leading to
3. The cattle drives followed specific routes leading to railheads, where the cattle were loaded onto railroad cars 4. The railheads became cow towns -- cities that concentrated on the cattle industry


65 C. End of the Cattle Kingdom
1. Surplus of cattle 2. Fencing limited availability of open land 3. Severe weather

66 INDIANS IN THE WEST A. The Plains Indians
1. A wide variety of tribes inhabited the Great Plains 2. Many tribes followed the migration of the buffalo, living off the land as they moved 3. Societies were highly structured with specific jobs assigned to men and women

67 4. The US government acquired. land from the Indians through
4. The US government acquired land from the Indians through numerous treaties—the Indians were to receive money and supplies; the Bureau of Indian Affairs managed Indian issues 5. Treaties were periodically broken, new ones made, and then broken again


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