Presentation on theme: "Settling on the Great Plains"— Presentation transcript:
1 Settling on the Great Plains Section 2Settling on the Great Plains
2 Settlers Move Westward to Farm Took 250 yrs to turn 400 million acres of forests and prairies into flourishing farmsSettling the second 400 million acres took only 30 yrs ( )Federal land policies and the completion of the transcontinental railroad lines made it possible
3 Railroads Open the West federal govt made huge land grants to the railroads for laying track170 million acresWorth half a billion dollarsBoth the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific received10 sq miles of public land for every mile of track laid in a state20 sq miles of land for every mile of track laid in territoryCentral Pacific moved eastward from Sacramento, Union Pacific moved westward from OmahaCivil War vets, Irish, Chinese, African Americans, and Mexican Americans did most of the laborBoth companies reached Utah by the spring of 186915 yrs later, the country boasted five transcontinental railroadsRR companies sold some land to farmers for two to ten dollars an acreSome successfully sent agents to Europe to recruit buyersBy 1880, 44% of the settlers in Nebraska and more than 70% in Minnesota and Wisconsin were immigrants
4 Government Support for Settlement Homestead Act (1862)Offered 160 acres of land free to any citizen or intended citizen who was head of the household600,000 Families took advantageExodusters—Af Am who moved from the post-Reconstruction South to KansasPrivate speculators, railroad agents, and govt agents used the law for their own gainCattlemen fenced open lands, miners and wood cutters claimed national resourcesOnly 10% of the land was actually settled by the families for whom it was intendedNot all plots of land were equalExpanded the Homestead Act1889 land giveaway in what is now Oklahoma attracted thousandsLess than a day settlers claimed 2 million acres
5 The Closing of the Frontier Henry D. Washburn and fellow explorer Nathaniel P Langford asked Congress to help protect the wilderness from settlement1870 surveying land in NW Wyoming described the area’s geysers and bubbling springs as “objects new experience…possessing unlimited grandeur and beauty”1872, created Yellowstone National ParkRailroads had to give up their claim to western landholdings1880 individuals had bought more then 19 million acres of govt owned land10 yrs later the Census Bureau declared that the country no longer had a continuous frontier line (frontier no longer existed)
6 Settlers Meet the Challenges of the Plains Settlers faced extreme hardshipsDrought, floods, fires, blizzards, locust plaques, occasional raids by outlaws or nativesHowever, national population grew from 1% in west of the Mississippi to 30% of the population
7 Dugouts and Soddies Dugouts Soddies Dug their homes into the sides of ravines or small hillsA stove pipe jutting from the ground was often the only clear sign of a dugoutSoddiesMade freestanding houses by stacking blocks of prairie turfWas warm in the winter and cool in the summerSmall offered little light or airHavens for snakes, insects, etcWere fireproof but leaked continuously when it rained
8 Women WorkingOften worked beside the men in the fields, plowing the land and planting and harvesting the predominant crop (wheat)Sheared sheep and carded wool to make clothes for their familiesHauled water from wells that they helped digMade soap and candles from tallow (fat from sheep and cattle)Canned fruits and veggiesSkilled at doctoring sponsored schools and churches
9 Technical Support for Farmers Inventions1837 John Deere invented a steel plow that could slice through heavy soil1847 Cyrus McCormick mass-produced a reaping machineSpring tooth harrow to prepare the soilGrain drill to plant the seedBarbed wire corn binderReaper that could cut and thresh wheat in one pass1890 there were more than 900 manufacturers for farm equipment1830 a bushel of grain took about 183 min, by 1900 it took only 10 min
10 Agricultural Education Morrill Act of 1862 and 1890Gave federal land to the states to help finance agricultural collegesHatch Act of 1887Est agricultural experiment stations to inform farmers of new developmentsResearchers developed grains for arid soil and techniques for dry farmingEnabled the dry eastern plains to flourish and become “the breadbasket of the nation”
11 Farmers in DebtMachinery was expensive, often they would have to borrowPrices for wheat were higher farmers could usually repay their loans when they were low farmers needed to raise more crops to make ends meetGave rise to a new type of farmingBonanza farmingEnormous single-crops spreads of 15,000-50,000 acresSlowly folded because they weren’t as flexible as small farmsRailroads charged western farmers a higher feeCharged more for short hauls (no competition)RR said it was just business, farmers resented being taken advantage of
12 Section 2 Review1) Review the changes in technology that influenced the life of settlers on the Great Plains in the late 1800’s. Explain how you think settlement of the plains would have been different without these inventions.2) How did the railroads take advantage of farmers?
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.