1. What is this poster promoting? 2. Who was the intended audience? 3. According to this poster, what makes the West “great”?
I. The Republican Vision A. The New Union and the World 1. Foreign Relations – Post-Civil War Great Britain paid U.S. $15.5 million in damages for aiding the South; steam-powered ships encouraged U.S. interests in the Caribbean and Pacific; in 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry opened Japan to U.S. trade.
2. William Seward – Secretary of state from 1861 to 1869 under Lincoln and Johnson; believed that U.S. must increase its participation in world, including the Western Hemisphere, Hawaii, and the Philippines; 1868 Burlingame Treaty gave American missionaries rights in China; negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia; skeptics nicknamed Alaska “Seward’s Icebox.”
Based on image on previous page 1. What did artist Hashimoto Sadahide seek to show his Japanese audience with these images? (Answer: Reveals the flurry of activity as western ships—U.S. and French— enter the harbor to trade goods; loading of a ship is depicted in one image, arrival of a ship in the second image; presence of women and men aboard; women watching as men work.) 2. Consider reactions to Asian immigrants to the United States during this same era. How might Americans have depicted the arrival of men and women from Japan to harbors on the Pacific Coast? (Answer: Students might discuss anti-Chinese and Japanese sentiment on the West Coast; anti-Asian illustrations and cartoons published in newspapers.)
I. The Republican Vision B. Integrating the National Economy 1. Tariffs and Economic Growth – Republican-supported tariffs helped build industries such as textile, steel manufacturing, and sheep ranching; provided largest share of revenue for U.S. Treasury; huge debt from Civil War ($2.8 billion) was erased by tariffs in two decades; caused much debate in Congress; Republicans argued they created jobs, blocked low-wage foreign competition for U.S. products, and safeguarded American from the kind of industrial poverty that had arisen in Europe; Democrats claimed that they over-taxed the consumers; historians contend that the tariffs helped the U.S. to become a world economic power in the postwar years; did not prevent poverty in U.S.; tariffs also helped foster trusts, large corporations that dominated sectors of the economy and wielded near-monopoly power.
2. The Role of Courts – States passed regulatory laws; Munn v. Illinois (1877): states had the right to regulate businesses that served public purposes (ex: railroads) but could not block integration of the national marketplace; land claims in southwest impacted by federal court decisions; between 1891 and 1904, most traditional land claims by Mexicans were invalidated; Mexican Americans lost 64 percent of the contested lands.
3. Silver and Gold – Attempt to create an international system of standard measurements and currency; agreement that money should be based on gold (known as the gold standard); in 1873, Congress chose to use gold as the standard for U.S. currency value and end the use of greenbacks (paper dollars); this decision limited the nation’s money supply.
II. Incorporating the West A. Mining Empires 1. Nevada’s Comstock Lode– Discovered in 1859, silver spurs the boomtown of Virginia City, which soon had fancy hotels, theaters, saloons, and brothels.
2. Corporate mining – General Mining Act of 1872 allowed those who discovered minerals on federal property to work the claim and keep the proceeds; the law, still in force today, benefitted consortiums of powerful investors who funded engineers and advanced equipment; mines created many dangerous low-wage jobs; mining towns became a market for timber from the Pacific Northwest.
II. Incorporating the West B. Cattlemen on the Plains 1. Removal of bison– In the 1870s, combination of overhunting and disease decimated the bison herds, which had once overrun the plains.
2. Ranching – South Texas had millions of cattle grazing; Texas ranchers began the Long Drive, hiring cowboys to herd cattle to rail lines in the northern plains; men rushed into the region to raise and move cattle; millions of cattle were living on the land, destroying the natural ecosystem; drought, bitter cold, and blizzards of 1885 destroyed the industry; cattle ranching survived to become part of the integrated national economy; invention of barbed wire ends Long Drive; stockyards appeared near ranching operations.
II. Incorporating the West C. Homesteaders 1. Women in the West – Homesteaders went West as families, aiming to find economic opportunity; success of a farm depended on the work of wives and children; notion of “domesticity”: a man’s devotion to family made him a good worker; it was believed that women could provide moral guidance to men, including Christian charity, commitment to home, motherhood; conflicts arose with Mormons’ acceptance of polygamy and women’s suffrage in Utah; Wyoming Territory granted women suffrage in 1869; life on the Great Plains was extremely hard for young mothers who struggled with isolation.
2. Environmental Challenges – Faced a host of challenges, including grasshoppers, prairie fires, hailstorms, tornados, blizzards, lack of water, wood, lumber, fencing; western grasslands had insufficient water for growing; 160-acre homesteads were too much for most farmers to handle; successes proved unsustainable; John Wesley Powell wrote Report on the Lands of the Arid Regions of the United States (1879); told Congress that 160-acre tracts would not work in dry regions and instead encouraged smaller, irrigated farms; proposed that the government work to develop water resources in the West, building dams and canals; Congress plan rejected Powell’s plan; later historians consider his report a good critique of the problems that existed with development of the Great Plains.
II. Incorporating the West D. The First National Park 1. Preservation – Some Americans began to fear overdevelopment of the West; Congress began to preserve sites of unusual natural splendor; in 1864, Congress gave 10 square miles of Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort, and recreation”; in 1872, it set aside 2 million acres of Wyoming’s Yellowstone Valley as the world’s first national park. 2. Tourism – Railroad tourism developed side by side with other western industries and provided an important motive for creation of Yellowstone National Park; management guidelines for these “national parks” took time to establish; Indians had to be expelled and hunting prohibited; native resistance to expulsion led to conflicts.
III. A Harvest of Blood: Native Peoples Dispossessed A. 1. Dakota Sioux – In summer of 1862, Dakota Sioux in Minnesota attacked settlers in protest for what they were not receiving (as promised) from the government for living on a reserved tract of land; more than 400 white people killed; thousands fled MN; 38 Dakota Sioux men were hanged for the action (largest mass execution in U.S. history); Congress canceled all treaties with the Dakotas.
2. Cheyenne – Colorado whites wanted a military campaign against the Cheyenne despite little hostility from the tribe (Sioux allies); in 1864, military attacked the Cheyenne; Chief Black Kettle surrendered to federal agents but was subsequently murdered along with hundreds of women, children, and infants; Arapahos and Sioux began to attack settlers in defense of the Cheyenne; the U.S. Army initially failed to subdue the resistance; easterners began to dislike the “Indian problem” and desired new solutions The Civil War and Indians on the Plains
III. A Harvest of Blood: Native Peoples Dispossessed B. Grant’s Peace Policy 1. Indian Boarding Schools – Reformers argued that Indians had the capacity to be equal with whites if educated and Christianized; “kill the Indian and save the man”; created off-reservation schools; PA Carlisle School (1879): children required to speak English, cut their hair, and dress in white peoples’ clothing; corruption lingered within Bureau of Indian Affairs; ultimately, native peoples were forced to assimilate to white culture
2. Breaking Up Tribal Lands – Reformers most sweeping effort to assimilate Indians was the Dawes Severalty Act”(1887), which divided reservations into individual homesteads, believing that private property might encourage native people to adopt the ways of whites; Sen. Henry Dawes (MA) was a leader in the Indian Rights Association; believed this new act would provide a sense of independence; was a total disaster; government seized over 15 million acres of land in Indian Territory and losses by native peoples increased.
III. A Harvest of Blood: Native Peoples Dispossessed C. The End of Armed Resistance 1. Sitting Bull and Custer– In 1874, General Custer claimed he found gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota; Sioux were pressured to leave area for white settlers; in 1876, the government demanded that all Sioux and their leader, Sitting Bull, gather at the federal agencies; Sitting Bull and other Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahos refused to report.
2. Battle of Little Big Horn – On June 26 and 27, 1876, Custer and his men attacked Sitting Bull’s camp in Montana; Custer died at this “last stand,” as did all of his 210 men; was the last major victory of the Plains Indians against the U.S. Army.
1. Describe these two men, their dress, and their surroundings. 2. Can you identify any evidence of these men’s interaction with white Americans? 3. Speculate: why did Edward Curtis choose to photograph Little Plume and his son Yellow Kidney? 4. Curtis has been criticized by modern-day historians for removing items from his subjects’ clothing and environment and to make them appear more “authentic” in his photographs. What might be missing from this picture? 5. Does the knowledge that Curtis made such changes to his pictures influence your assessment of this image as a historical artifact?
III. A Harvest of Blood: Native Peoples Dispossessed D. Strategies of Survival 1. Syncretism– Effort to maintain native customs and traditions, while assimilating; a blend of the old and the new; Ghost Dance movement (late 1880s and early 1890s) was an effort to resurrect the bison and create a giant storm to force whites back across the Atlantic; spread from reservation to reservation.
2. Wounded Knee – Lakota Sioux Ghost Dancers left their South Dakota reservation and were pursued by the U.S. Army, who feared that further spread of the religion would provoke war. On December 29, 1890, battle at Wounded Knee Creek left at least 150 Lakota dead, but perhaps as many as 300. Like other massacres, this one could have been avoided; the deaths at Wounded Knee stand as a final indictment of decades of relentless U.S. expansion, white ignorance and greed, chaotic and conflicting policies, and bloody mistakes.
III. A Harvest of Blood: Native Peoples Dispossessed E. Western Myths and Realities 1. Buffalo Bill Cody – Famous Wild West show was offered as an authentic representation of frontier experience; provided employment opportunities for Plains Indians who demonstrated their riding skills; Black Elk, a Sioux man who joined Cody’s operation, observed that the Wild West of the 1880s was at its heart a celebration of U.S. military conquest.
2. Frederick Jackson Turner – A 1890s young historian who wrote that there had been a clear, westward-moving line that existed between “civilization and savagery”; the frontier experience shaped Americans’ national character, leaving them a heritage of “coarseness and strength, combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness” as well as “restless, nervous energy”; historians now reject his views.
3. Sherman’s death – In the winter of 1891, Sherman died in New York; celebrations of his life marked the critical moments in which the native population had been destroyed by military conquest; throughout Sherman’s military career, the nation had grown spread westward and become an international economic power.