Objectives: Students will: Describe the nature of the cultural conflicts and battles that accompanied the white American migration into the Great Plains and the Far West. Explain the development of federal policy towards Native Americans in the late nineteenth century. Analyze the brief flowering and decline of the cattle and mining frontiers, and the settling of the arid West by small farmers increasingly engaged with a worldwide economy. AP Focus Federal land grants entice whites to seek out new lives in the West, which brings them into conflict with the Indians, many of whom had earlier been pushed west by the U.S. government. By the end of the century, the frontier is closed—all of the land in the continental United States is settled or can no longer be considered frontier, according to the Census Bureau.
CHAPTER THEMES After the Civil War, whites overcame the Plains Indians’ fierce resistance and settled the Great West, bringing to a close the long frontier phase of American history. The farmers who populated the West found themselves the victims of an economic revolution in agriculture. Trapped in a permanent debtor dependency, in the 1880s, they finally turned to political action to protest their condition. Their efforts culminated in the Populist Party’s attempt to create an interracial farmer/labor coalition in the 1890s, but William Jennings Bryan’s defeat in the pivotal election of 1896 signaled the triumph of urbanism and the middle class.
Focus Questions Chapter 26-Due Wednesday Decades Chart in class on Wednesday
Homestead Act of 1862 160 acres max living on that land for 5 years improving that land nominal fee-$30 Marked a change in policy Public land sold for revenue This policy promoted rapid settlement ½ million families utilized this program Drought conditions were common Fraud was common with the Homestead Act Railroads sold land given to them by the government Land surprisingly fertile, once the sod was busted
Higher wheat prices enticed settlers 100 meridian or bust agriculture impossible without irrigation dry-farming tough strains of wheat from Russia sorghum barbed wire Federally financed irrigation projects Dams a plenty-Missouri/Columbia/Colorado Rivers
New States 1876: Colorado 1889-1890: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming 1896-Utah Oklahoma Sooners April 22, 1889-legal opening
1890-Census closes the frontier Parks Yellowstone 1872 Yosemite 1890 Sequoia 1890 The closing caused new economic and psychological problems Theory of the frontier as a safety valve not completely accurate After 1880, area between the Rockies and the Pacific most urbanized region in America
Farmers evolved from making everything to becoming producers and consumers Focused on a single cash crop-wheat or corn Farmers became tied to the railroads, banking, and manufacturing Twine binder Combine Farmers blamed banks instead of themselves Mechanization of agriculture California’s Central Valley Bonanza wheat farms MN/ND
Price of commodity determined by the world market and world output Deflation caused farmers to pay more back to the bank Not enough currency to go around Lived in a vicious circle farm machinery increased output increased output lowered the price lower prices drove them into more debt
Grass-hopers and boll weevil Over-assessed land, high local taxes High protective tariffs helped manufacturing Middlemen cut Railroad cut All lead to a major political uprising
1. Why has the Plains Indians’ resistance to white encroachment played such a large part in the popular American view of the West? How is that mythical past related to the Indians’ actual history? 2. What was romantic about the final phases of frontier settlement, and what was not? 3. Why was the “passing of the frontier” in 1890 a disturbing development for many Americans? Was the frontier more important as a particular place or as an idea?
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