The Gilded Age- Opening the West Notes

I. Native American Culture

•A. Native Americans emphasized community welfare over indiv. interest

–1. did not believe in land ownership

•B. Indian economies based on subsistence not profit

•C. Whites rejected idea of communal living-

–1. demanded exclusive use of land by individuals

II. Federal Indian Policy

•A. In 1830s Indians separated from whites

–1. forced to settle West of the Missouri R.

–2. Area of West known as the GreatAm.Desert

•B. In 1840s U.S. acquires Western land from Mexican War

–1. Mormons develop a trail through Indian country

–2. govt. built forts in the West to protect settlers

–3. Army punished Indians who attacked settlers

•C. Americans realized the Gr.AmericanDesert could support agriculture

–1. settlers demand removal of Indians

–2. railroads lay tracks across the plains

–3. Federal government provides reservation land

•a. govt provides annual payments of livestock, clothing etc

–b. Buffalo killed

D. Treaty of FortLaramie 1868

–1. Resulted from U.S. defeat in Great Sioux War

–2. Sioux would move to reservation in area now South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana

–3. Sioux to have land and hunting rights

•E. Whites encroached onto Sioux land

–1. General George Custer sent to survey land and order Sioux to move

–2. Custer defeated at Battle of Little Bighorn 1876

•a. Crazy Horse and Sitting . Bull overwhelmed U.S. troops

•F. Navajos and Comanches subdued in the Southwest

–1. Adapted to agricultural life

–2. Apaches last to resist- Geronimo on the run- later subdued and relocated to reservation in Florida

•G. Americanization

–1. Indians forced onto reservations

–2. Helen Hunt Jackson A Century of Dishonor (1881)

–3. sympathy for Native Americans especially in the East

–4 Attempt to destroy Indian culture

–5. Received aid from Christian denominations to Christianize Indians

–6. Indians not allowed to practice their religion

–7. children taken from parents sent to boarding school

–8. men taught agriculture- hurt traditional Indian women who usually farmed

–9. Wounded Knee Massacre-U.S. army killed over 200 Sioux in response to Ghost Dance religious ceremony

–10. Dawes Act- Designed to aid Indian adjustment to agriculture- did away with tribal land ownership

•a. gave lots of land to individual males

•b. extra land sold to whites

•c. unsuccessful-

–1. Indian land grants usually non-arable

–2. Indian land divided among children into smaller plots

–3.. Indians resisted cultural attacks but reservations generally poor

III. Railroads

•A. Railroads, government policies and promoters helped the settlement of the West

•B. Railroads helped settlement of West

–1. Transcontinental Railroad made possible by Pacific Railroad Act of 1862

–2. Govt heavily subsidized RRs.- gave land grants

–3. many Chinese worked to build RR beds

–4. Transcont. RR completed in 1869

–5. Transported settlers, raw materials, cattle to East

–6. RRs owned 1/5 of land in some states- sold extra land to settlers

IV. Homesteaders

A. Government policy-. Homestead Act of 1862- gave 80 million acres to settlers to encourage settlement of West

–1. 160 acre plots

–2. must live on lot and farm land for 5 years.

–3. mixed results

•a Law based on Eastern family farming

•b. larger lots needed in arid environment

•c. govt did not account for capital needed for machinery

•d. corporations, and speculators cheated-

–1. bought lot to control water sources

–2, railroads, corp ranches got best land

•e. land in S.W. already bought from by indiv. From Mexico

•B.18% of homesteaders were single women

•C. Scandanavian and Eastern Europeans migrated to West

–Mormons promoted settlement

•D. New Technologies- grain elevators, barbed wire

•E. Farming difficult due to arid land, many farmers relied on one crop

–1. hurt by global price fluctuations

–2. Many farmers foreclosed on

F. Fronteir Thesis

V. Mining

•A. Another Gold Rush in Colorado after California Gold Rush of 1849

•B. Comstock Lode- Mold discovery by Henry Comstock in Nevada

–1. miners migrated from Calif.

–2. most prospectors sold out for little payout

•C. Mining became a corporate venture

–1.Eastern and British corporations

–2. Mining need expensive technology-

– hydraulic drills, water canons

•D. Mining leads to temporary boomtowns then ghost towns-

–1. Workers lived in tents or tenements

–2. Saloons, beer halls, gambling houses brothels

–3. Many women turn to prostitution

•E. Miners attempt to unionize

–1. mining very hazardous

–2. Large corporations fight unions

•Govt busts strikes

•F. Mining devastating to environment

–1. lead arsenic used

–2. erosion, overflowing rivers destroyed farms

–3. smelting caused air pollution

VI. Cattle Industry

•A. Cattle industry started by the Spanish in the 18th Century

•B. Urbanization in the East opened markets and increased demand

•C. Railroads allowed cattle to be brought to market

•D. Cattle ranchers used open range methods on public land

•E. Cattle industry drove cattle to railroad railheads in Kansas- Chisolm Trail most well known

•F. Cowboys made up of

–1. Ex confederate soldiers

–2. blacks made up 25%

–3. Mexicans came up with many of techniques and gear

–4. Blacks and Mexicans unable to be trail bosses

•G. Corporations attracted to high profits

–1. corps illegally fenced off open range

–2. no longer available to indiv. cattle farmers

•H. In 1880s industry collapsed due to over grazing