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Opening the West.

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Presentation on theme: "Opening the West."— Presentation transcript:

1 Opening the West

2 Essential Question What were the causes and effects of mining booms in the West? Discovery of gold and silver in west led to mining boom Effect: creation of new states Effect: Transcontinental Railroad Effect: new wave of settlers Effect: benefits to industry

3 Gold Silver and Boomtowns
Mid 1850s – California gold rush has ended Miners began prospecting in other parts of the West Prospectors skimmed gold dust from streams or scratched particles from the land Most gold is deep underground Companies stand a better chance at getting rich than individuals

4 Boomtowns Boomtown

5 Boom and Bust Gold strikes created boomtowns
Towns develop almost overnight Lively, lawless places, violence and gambling Mostly men, but some women acted as laundresses, cooks or entertainers Everyday people called, vigilantes, enforced the law Once the gold was gone, people left and they became ghost towns

6 United States Expands West
As mining areas became more populated, they eventually became states 1876 – Colorado 1889 – North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Montana 1890 – Wyoming, Idaho

7 Railroads Connect East and West
Gold and silver had little value unless they could reach factories, ports and markets People living in boomtowns also needed shipments of food and supplies Nation’s railroads expand rapidly between 1865 and 1890

8 Railroads

9 Government and the Railroad
Railroad construction was often supported by large government subsidies Railroad executives argued that their companies should receive free public land because connecting East and West would benefit the entire nation Federal government agrees, grants 130 million acres to railroads Most land is obtained by treaties with Native Americans


11 Transcontinental Railroad
Enormous Challenge! Low wages/harsh conditions for workers Irish Chinese African Americans Harsh terrain: forests, deserts, mountains Harsh weather: hot summers, icy winters

12 Transcontinental Railroad
Race between Union Pacific Company and Central Pacific Company May 10, 1869 – construction is completed East and West coast are connected

13 Effects of Railroads Brought thousands of workers west
Boost in steel industry with more needed for tracks Coal producers, railroad car manufacturers, construction companies benefit Towns spring up all along railway Brings next wave of settlers west Farmers Ranchers UNITES THE COUNTRY

14 Making Connections What was life like in boomtowns?
Lively, lawless places More men than women Law kept by vigilantes Why did the government provide subsidies to Railroad Companies? Building a Transcontinental Railroad was expensive and the RR companies argued that the government should pay for it because RRs would bring benefits to the entire nation.

15 Ranchers and Farmers Ranchers and Farmers
When you hear the word “cowboy” what do you think? How does this song portray the life of a cowboy? Be specific. Romanticized: Deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion

16 Essential Question How did cattle ranchers and farmers adapt to life in the west?

17 Cattle on the Plains When the Spanish settled Mexico and Texas, they brought a tough breed of cattle with them – Longhorns Most of Texas is open range and ranchers added to their herds by rounding up wild cattle They burned symbols into their hides to mark them as their own

18 Railroads and Cow Towns
Markets for beef were in the North and East When railroads start expanding east, value of Texas cattle shot up Texans drove their herds to the nearest rail point in Missouri to be shipped East Increase in longhorn’s value set off what became known as the Long Drive

19 Long Drive

20 Life on the Great Plains
Cowhands and ranchers lived difficult lives on the Plains Rode up to 15 hours a day in the saddle Violent lightning storms, dust storms, blazing sun, freezing nights Lonely Stampedes Vaqueros: Hispanic ranch hands who developed riding, roping and branding skills

21 The Cattle Kingdom Ends
Ranching replaced cattle drives because of hardier, plumper cattle Ranchers became rich when cattle prices boomed Too many cattle forced prices down Cattle industry survives, but farming becomes main economic activity. Is the life of cowboys romanticized? Why?

22 Farmers Settle the Plains
Free land and new farming methods brought many settlers to the Great Plains 1872 – A Nebraska farmer wrote “One year ago this was a vast, houseless, uninhabited prairie…Today I can see more than thirty dwellings from my door.”

23 Farmers Settle the Plains
Several factors brought settlers to the Plains Railroads made journey west easier New laws offered free land Above average rainfall in the late 1870s made land better suited for farming

24 The Homestead Act This land gave up to 160 acres to settle for a $10 filing fee and who promised to live on the land for 5 years Immigrants and women were eligible Attracted thousands of new settler to the plains

25 The Homestead Act

26 New Groups of Settlers Immigrants African Americans
End of Reconstruction mean end of protection in the South Fearing for their safety, they moved West By 1881, more than 40,000 had migrated to Kansas

27 Women on the Frontier Worked hard in the fields alongside men
Sewed clothing, made candles, cooked and preserved food Kept farm running when men were away Children worked the farms as well

28 The Oklahoma Land Rush Oklahoma Territory, designated by Congress as “Indian” Territory was the last region of the Plains to be settled Government opens is up to settlers on April 22, 1889 1890 census reveals the frontier was no more Settlement had greatly changed the Plains, especially for Native Americans

29 Making Connections Why do you think cow hands capture the imagination of many Americans? Making Predictions How do you think the Oklahoma Land Rush affected Native Americans?

30 Native American Struggles
How did westward expansion affect Native Americans?

31 Following the Buffalo Native Americans of the Great Plains depended on buffalo to survive, but railroads threatened this lifestyle Great Plains Indians like the Comanche, Sioux and Blackfeet lived a nomadic life following their food source


33 Following the Buffalo For most of their history the Plains Native Americans had millions of buffalo to supply their needs. After the Civil War however, American hunters hired by the railroads began slaughtering the animals to feel their building crews. Railroad companies also wanted to prevent the giant herds of buffalo from blocking the tracks. Starting in 1872, hunters targeted buffalo to sell their hides back east.

34 Following the Buffalo

35 Conflict Conflict between Native Americans and whites grew as Native Americans were forced onto reservations Army was given authority to deal with any groups who would not move

36 Reservation Life Government agents often used trickery to persuade Native Americans to move to reservations Located on poor land Government often failed to deliver food and supplies Some groups abandoned reservation life The stage was set for conflict

37 Conflict Begins Sioux Summer of 1862 – Red Cloud and Sioux warriors burned and looted homes and killed hundreds before being stopped by the army 1866 – Crazy Horse and Sioux warriors tricked military leaders Cheyenne and Arapaho killed hundreds of settlers as well Sand Creek Massacre: Army killed hundreds of Cheyenne on their way to make peace in Colorado

38 Little Big Horn 1868 – Government signed treaty that promised “No white person or persons shall be permitted” to settle on the Black Hills However, prospectors swarmed the area looking for gold Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and their Sioux warriors gathered along Little Big Horn River to meet the US army Within 30 minutes, Colonel George Custer and his 250 soldiers were dead

39 Little Big Horn George Armstrong Custer

40 The Dawes Act Passed in 1877 to remove what whites regarded as two weaknesses of Native American culture Lack of private property Nomadic tribal life Each Native American received a plot of land to farm

41 Native Americans and Westward Expansion
The Westward Expansion of the late 1800s continued to create problems for the Native Americans who stood in its path. By the 1840s, only scattered groups of Native Americans still lived in the East. Most lived west of the Mississippi on lands that few whites wanted The California Gold Rush Transcontinental Railroad Discovery of rich farmland in the Great Plans

42 Native Americans and Westward Expansion
All of these factors changed the view of white people and they began to move onto Native Americans lands in the West One way that Native Americans tried to “fit in” with the white settlers was to obey the law that was passed by Congress in 1887. The Dawes Act

43 Native Americans and Westward Expansion
The purpose of this act was to break up tribes of Native Americans and reservations. It offered Natives who gave up tribal ways the deed to their land and US citizenship after 25 years. Questions to consider Was the Dawes Act fair to the Native Americans? Why or why not? Did the Native Americans Support it? Did the economy of the West rely on the same kinds of business as the economy of the North? If so, how?

44 The Dawes Act

45 Wounded Knee Police shot and killed Sitting Bull for leading the ritual of the Ghost Dance In response, several Lakota Sioux gathered at a creek called Wounded Knee Army killed over 200 Native Americans Marks the end of the conflict between the US Government and Native Americans

46 Wounded Knee

47 Letters You are a Native American living in the American West! Every year, westward expansion is taking its toll on you and your people. Write a letter to the United States government highlighting The struggles that you and your people face The effects that westward expansion has on your daily life The effect you hope your letter has on the policies of the United States government Be sure to include relevant facts and details Must be at least 10 sentences long!

48 Farmers in Protest Essential Question
Why did farmers organize and begin reform movements in the late 1800s?

49 The Farmers Organize After the Civil War, farming expanded in the West and the South However, the supply of crops grew faster than the demand and prices fell Farmers blamed their troubles on 3 groups

50 Farmers in Protest Farmers blamed their troubles on 3 groups
Railroad Companies Charged high shipping rates Eastern manufacturers Charged high prices for their products Bankers Charged high interest rates for borrowing money for seed and equipment Farmers began to organize in an effort to solve their problems Form a mass political movement

51 Farmers Populists and Politics
For many years, farmers were ignored by the American public especially in Congress and government. During the latter half of the 19th century, farmers were gaining more influence through two organizations. The Grange and the Populist Party. One of the main reasons that 3rd parties tend to develop in the United States is because of the major issues that are ignored by the two major parties.

52 Farmers Populists and Politics
The Populist Party – Party started by a group of farmers to give them a representative voice in government. This party had 3 major goals 1. Graduated Income Tax 2. Direct Election of Senators (Amendment 17) 3. Government ownership of railroads, telegraphs and telephones

53 Farmers Populists and Politics
Another group designed to help farmers create a better life and lifestyle for themselves was The Grange What was the goal of this organization? To develop strong social ties between farmers and industrialists. They wanted to win back power from the railroads. Was it successful? Fairly successful (Munn vs. Illinois)

54 Farmers Populists and Politics
The Election of 1896 Populist candidate William Jennings Bryan makes a bid for the White House but falls short to Republican President William McKinley. One of the major issues during the campaign was the passage and coinage of free silver What is free silver? Free coinage of silver would produce cheap money or currency inflated in value that would make it easy for farmers to pay off debts Why do you think William McKinley was opposed to free silver? He had the support of big business

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