The Last West and the New South, 1865-1900

Report
American social development has been continually beginning over again
on the Frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this
expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with
the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating
American character. The true point of view in the history of this nation
is not the Atlantic coast, it is the Great West.
- Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893

Louisiana Purchase
(1803)

Lewis & Clark
Expedition (1804-1806)

Mexican-American War
(1846-1848)

Manifest Destiny – no
more

Concentration is on war

Postbellum Period
 People begin to move
West
 Known as the “Great
Desert”
 1900 – Heavily inhabited
 Buffalo population is down
by 95%
 Railroads choking out
Native American lands

Groups of Settlers:
 Miners
 Cattlemen
 Farmers
 Miners
 Gold Rush – 1848
 Settled much of CA and OR
 Colorado
 Pike’s Peak – 1859
 100,000 inhabitants
 Nevada
 Comstock Lode (1864)

Speculators
 Placer mining
 Deep-shaft mining
 Investment and capital

Boomtowns




Virginia City, NV
San Francisco, CA
Sacramento, CA
Denver, CO

Problems in CA:
 Immigration – mostly
Asian
 Miner’s Tax
 $20/mo
 ALL foreign-born miners
 Chinese Exclusion Act of
1882
 Eliminated immigration
from China
 Renewed in 1892

The Cattle Frontier
 Economic opportunities
 Railroad
 Postwar – opened up East to
the West
 Cow Towns
 Abilene, TX
 Dodge City, KS
 Chicago, IL
 “Long-Drive”
 Chisholm Trail
 Goodnight Loving Trail

Conditions:
 Workers
 Mexican immigrants/blacks
(exodusters)
 $1.00/day
 Farming/grazing methods
 1880s – overgrazing
 1885-1886 – massive
drought
 Killed 90% of cattle on
Plains
 Privatization of property
 Joseph Glidden (1874)

The Farming Frontier
 Homestead Act of 1862
 160 acres
 500,000 moved west
 2.5 million had to buy land
from RRs
 Problems:
 No building materials
 Extreme hot and cold
 No water
 Solutions:
 Sodbusters – sod bricks
 “Dry farming”
 Russian Wheat
“Hurrah for Greer
County! The land of the
free,
The land of the bedbug,
grasshopper, and flea;
I’ll sing of its praises,
I’ll tell of its fame;
While starving to death
on my government
claim.”



Antebellum: “one big
reservation”
“Indian Country” –
government
nomenclature
1834 – Indian
Intercourse Act
 Whites must have a
“license” to move to the
West
 Changes in 1848

Removal of Native
Americans
 65% live on Great Plains
 Tribes:






Sioux
Blackfoot
Cheyenne
Crow
Comanche
Conflicts with U.S.
Govt.

Reservation Policy
 Used to open terrain
 Settlers moved West
 Transcontinental RR
being built
 Native American
philosophies:
 Family
 NO Private Property
 U.S. government attitude
towards indigenous:
 Reservations!
 Treaty of Fort Laramie
(1851/1868)

Indian Wars
 November 1864 –
Massacre at Sand Creek
 John Chivington
 “Nits make lice”
 1867 – Great Sioux War
 7th Cavalry loses big!
 Battle of Little Bighorn
 Col. George A. Custer
 Custer’s Last Stand

“Assimilationists”
Respond
 Dawes Act (1887)
 Wanted Native Americans to
assimilate
 Give up Ghost Dance
 Become “civilized”
 U.S. Govt. divides up tribal
lands
 47 million acres
 FAILURE

Battle of Wounded Knee
 December 28, 1890
 Wounded Knee Creek,
SD
 7th Cavalry – rounds up
350 starving Sioux
 Demand Sioux to give up
weapons
 Last of the Indian Wars

Frederick Jackson
Turner
 “The Significance of the
Frontier in American
History” (1893)
 Argument:
 Frontier played a significant
role in forming American
identity
 Individualism and
ruggedness
 West was a safety valve for
East
 By 1890 – West was closed

In your opinion, was Reconstruction a success or
a failure? Did southerners receive a “New South”
or was it the same old “Reconstruction South”?
In your answer be sure to discuss social, political,
and economic issues that “Reconstructionists”
faced during this time period.

With the people around you, identify:
 What this document is saying about the South?
 How does the document describe the conditions in the
South (social/cultural, economic, and political)?
 Does this document exhibit or demonstrate the
potential for a New South or is it just the
Reconstruction South?


Still recovering from
Civil War
Henry Grady
 Pro-industrialization
 Pro-transcontinental RR
 Atlanta Constitution
article

Economic Process
 Cities
 Birmingham, AL
 Major symbol of
“New South”
 Steel center
 Richmond, VA
 Tobacco center
 Memphis, TN
 Lumber capitol

CHEAP LABOR!
 Textile industry
 Georgia, SC, and NC
 Made more cloth and
textiles than New England
 1865 – 12 small cotton mills
 1900 – 400 cotton mills
 100,000 workers

Continued Poverty
 Mostly agriculture
 Poorest region in the
country
 Northern investors
controlled ¾ of RRs
 Money went to bankers
and to the North – not
Southerners
 Poverty caused by:
 Late entry into
industrialization
 Poorly educated work force

Agriculture
 Cotton prices drop
drastically
 Farmers lost lands
 Per capita income
declined
 By 1900 – 50% of whites
were tenant farmers –
75% blacks
 George Washington
Carver

Farmers Unite!
 1890 – Farmers’ Southern
Alliance
 1 million members
 Colored Farmers’ Southern
Alliance
 250,000 members
 Both wanted political and
economic reforms
 Poor whites and black united
for a common goal

Segregation
 1877 – Federal troops exit
South
 No more protection for
blacks
 Democrats come into
local power
 White supremacy
 Separate races
 KKK

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Jim Crow Laws
 Grandfather clause
 Poll tax
 Literacy tests
 Voting numbers fall
 Louisiana
 1896 – 130,334
 1904 – 1,342

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