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The Last American Frontier

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Presentation on theme: "The Last American Frontier"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Last American Frontier

2 Frontier Frontier – the line separating areas of settlement from ‘unsettled’ wilderness territory See map on page 90 – ‘The Shifting Frontier’

3 The Lure of Precious Metals
California gold rush in Klondike Gold Rush – 1896 Set off one of the most turbulent gold rushes in history 100,000 started the trip ; only 30,000 completed the trip

4 The Indian Wars American troops, settlers, & Native Americans
General Custer & the battle of Little Big Horn Against the Sioux tribes (Sitting Bull & Crazy Horse) 1890 – Wounded Knee (South Dakota) Massacre of 300 unarmed Sioux men, women, & children by American troops

5 Impact of the Railroads
The 1st Transcontinental Railroad was completed in Promontory Point, Utah Reduced cross-country travel from 6 months to 10 days The increasing number of railroads continued to attract more settlers to the West

6 Availability Of Cheap Land
Homestead Act 1862 Granted any citizen 160 acres of government land If the settler lived on the land for 5 years, farmed & improved the land, then he could own the land Almost 1.4 million settlers took advantage of the offer under the Homestead Act

7 The Cattle Industry After the Civil War, the demand for beef skyrocketed Several million longhorn cattle roamed the Great Plains in Texas by the end of the Civil War Some settlers decided to drive these herds of cattle northward along cattle trails towards the railroads These cattle drives often took over 3 months to complete Cowboys, who learned how to ride, rope, & brand from Mexican vaqueros, were hired to drive these herds of longhorn cattle north Eventually 3 main things brought these cattle drives to an end: overgrazing, extended bad weather & winters, and the invention of barbed wire

8 The Cattle Drives The Texas Longhorn was lean and rangy, noted more for their speed and endurance rather than for their steak Over 5 Million Roamed the grasslands of Texas Typically driven to markets in Austin, Galveston or New Orleans As railroads pushed further West, suitable “cattle routes” opened up. Creating “Cowtowns” all throughout Kansas, Texas, Nebraska and Wyoming. Ex: Fort Worth Led to increased population in Kansas and Nebraska between


10 Farming on the Great Plains
The Homestead Act as well as the increasing number of railroads continued to stimulate the move westward Hardships the farmers faced: Conflict w/ the Indians Drought Plagues (grasshoppers, locusts, etc) Eventually all the ‘good’ land was taken Lack of trees to build houses Built sod-houses from the soil & grass


12 Government Policy U.S government wanted to push Native Americans from their lands onto reservations

13 The Reservation Typically smaller Not near as fertile of land
Government promised adequate food, blankets, and seed to farm Native Americans were traditionally hunters & not farmers so this clashed with their customs

14 The Dawes Act Americanization – adopting the culture of other mainstream Americans Each Native American family was given 160 acres of private land Each Native American family would become farmers Those who accepted this offer would become U.S citizens & be given the right to vote Eventually, almost 2/3rds of this land was bought (or taken) back by white settlers the purpose of the Dawes Act was to assimilate Native Americans in to the ‘white culture’ Schools were often times centers to ‘Americanize’ Native American children

15 American Indian Citizenship Act - 1924
Some Indians became citizens before American Indian Citizenship Act Had to take up life apart from their tribes (Became citizens immediately) 1901 Citizenship Granted to the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma Passed by the U.S. Congress Granted immediate U.S. citizenship to all Native American Indians born in the United States Did not have to give up tribal lands or customs

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