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The American West An Overview:

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Presentation on theme: "The American West An Overview:"— Presentation transcript:

1 The American West An Overview: 1860-1900

2 BELLWORK: 9/24 Would you be able to live out in the Wild, Wild West? Why or why not? Learning Goal: Students will be able to analyze Westward Expansion and the development of the U.S. Essential Question: How did Westward Expansion impact the United States?

3 1860 MAP

4 Questions for Analysis
•How many states existed in 1860? •Was there any land which was owned by the United States government but which was not yet admitted into the Union as a state? •What is the difference between a state and a territory? •How did a territory become a state?

5 BELLWORK: 9/25 “The American West was a land of opportunity for Americans in the late 1800s.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

6 Life on the Plains -Were there good water sources on the plains? -If there were few trees, with what would settlers build? What would they use for fuel? -What means of transportation existed at this time to either transport settlers and goods onto the plains, or transport the goods they produced to markets elsewhere? -What means of communication existed to connect those settling the plains with people on either the eastern or western seaboards? How could the government play a role in enticing people to settle the Great Plains?

7 Theme 1: The American west was a land of hardship and opportunity.

8 Theme 2: Western life was largely shaped by geography.

9 Theme 3: Western expansion continued to bring American settlers into conflict with American Indians.

10 4 main economic opportunities in the West
Farming Ranching Mining Railroad construction


12 Land Grants to Railroads

13 Opportunities Available Land Sources: Homestead Act (from gov’t)

14 What does a successful farmer need?
Bellwork 9/26- Farming What does a successful farmer need?

15 The Great American West
Students will take notes, during this 15 min clip.

16 What does a successful farmer need?
Farming What does a successful farmer need? Land with tillable soil Adequate rainfall or irrigation Access to machinery and supplies A way to transport goods to market A market for the goods

17 Hardship Thick sod Lack of rainfall/water Social isolation Debt
Low crop prices High freight charges Extreme weather Crop-eating Insects

18 The “Soddie”

19 Who are the Cowboys? The Great Oklahoma Land Run What emotions do you think these people felt? Are they happy? Scared? Confident?

20 Ranching

21 Opportunities Ranching is possible in places that couldn’t support other types of farming Markets existed for beef, wool, etc.

22 Hardships Livestock susceptible to disease
Farmers opposed open range, put up fences


24 Mining

25 Opportunities The chance to get rich

26 Hardships Few got rich Large corporations began to takeover the mining business

27 Railroad Work

28 Opportunities Jobs

29 Hardships Dangerous, exhausting work
Competition for jobs kept wages low

30 The Impact of Railroads
Brought settlers west Allowed westerners to trade with the east Largest landowner in the west Responsible for the creation on many towns Encouraged slaughter of buffalo Accelerated conflict with Native Americans

31 The Indian Wars "It makes little difference, however, where one opens the record of history of the Indians; every page and every year has its dark stain. The story of one tribe is the story of all." --Helen Hunt Jackson

32 Indian Wars: background
In reality, Indians had been at war with white "invaders" since about 1493 when Columbus' men had their first clash with Native Americans. Indians in the American west had been isolated from the pressures of U.S. expansion until after the Civil War.

33 Indian Wars: A Shift in Policy
When expansion into the American west accelerated and the U.S. government changed its policy to "concentration." This meant moving Indians onto reservations. Some tribes peacefully signed treaties with the US government giving up their lands in exchange for promises of food and other payments. Other tribes fought for their lands. Life on reservations was worsened by corrupt Indian agents.


35 Indian Wars Beginning in 1862, the U.S. army began a series of violent conflicts with various Native American tribes. Together, these conflicts are known as the "Indian Wars." The goal of U.S. policy was to force uncooperative tribes onto reservations and to secure western lands for white owners.

36 The End Results All tribes were forced onto Reservations
Traditional ways of life for Native Americans were endangered Settlers gained access to the best Western lands

37 The near-extinction of the bison
Buffalo were hunted for sport, for their valuable furs, and as an intentional way to hurt Indian tribes that relied on the animal for survival.

38 Reformers Reformers sought to save the Indian by “civilizing” the Indian. Although well intentioned, they were not appreciative of Indian cultures.

39 “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”

40 Populism A general definition: A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite. A more specific definition: A movement, primarily of farmers, in the late 1800s that demanded government aid for the common farmer and worker.

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