Ch. 18 Opening the West 1858-1896

Ch. 18
Opening the West
Gold, Silver, & Boomtowns
- 1858 gold found at Pikes Peak in the Colorado Rockies.
By 1859 50,000 prospects had flocked to Colorado
A) Boom or Bust
1) 1859 prospectors find one of the world’s richest
deposits of silver near Nevada’s Carson River
2) Gold strikes created boomtowns (overnight)
3) Boomtowns were lively & lawless; many people
carried guns and a lot of cash.
4) Few police or prisons so vigilantes punished
5) “Booms” were followed by “busts” & boomtowns
became ghost towns once G/S ran out
Gold, Silver, & Boomtowns
B) The U.S. Expands West
1) As mining areas developed & populated – states
formed. Between 1876-1890, CO-ND-SD-WAMO-WY & ID all become states.
Railroads Connect East & West
*The need to ship resources east & west quickly, leads to transcontinental RR
A. Government & the Railroads
1) RR’s were funded by subsidies ($ & land) from gov’t
a) RR’ would benefit entire nation
b) Fed. Gov’t granted more that 130 million acres of land
2) RR’s sold additional land for development of towns
3) Towns competed for RR’s
C. The Transcontinental Railway
1) May 10, 1896 – Completed
a) Promontory Summit – Utah
b) Gov. of CA drives in golden spike to join two RR’s
D.) Effects of the Railroads
1) Economic Effects:
a) 1,000s of workers come West
b) Products (goods) could be shipped from coast to coast
2) Towns spring up around RR’s
a) Some grow into large cities
3) Change how time was kept
a) Each city had kept their own time
b) Divide U.S. into four time zones
c) To avoid collisions of trains
d) Congress makes it official in 1918
4) New technology (air brakes etc.) & united Americans in different
Ranchers & Farmers
Cattle on the Plains
*Hispanic origins- Spanish brought the horse to the America’s
& introduced domestic cattle to the region- Longhorns
A.) Railroads & Cow Towns
1.) Supply and Demand lead to Cattle Drives
a.) After Civil War, Texas was over run with Cattle
b.) RR made it easy to ship cattle to the North & East where it was
high demand (Chicago, New York, New England)
- A cow that was worth $3 in Texas would sell for $40 or
$50 in the (East)
B. The Long Drive
1) The Problem: Texas had no RR’s
2) Nearest RR were in Kansas
a) This led to the “Long Drive”TX cattle  KS RR’s
b) Ranching replaces cattle drives
because they could produce hardier,
plumper cattle.
c) Eventually cattle flooded the market
and prices fell, brining an end to the
“Cattle Kingdom”
Farmers Settle the Plains
- 1870’s & 1880”s many farmers came to the GP
- Many were recruited by RR to fill large Gov’t Land Grants
A) Homestead Act of 1862
1) Settle could get 160 acres by doing the following:
a) Settler had to live on the land for 5 years
b) Settler had to break sod, build fences etc.
c) Settler had to pay $10 filing fee to cover cost of
2) New Group of Settlers
a) Thousands of African Americans migrated from the South to
Kansas in the late 1870’s
b) Called themselves “Exodusters”, the biblical book of Exodus
B) Challenges of Farming the Frontier
*Drought, Insect, pests & grasshoppers
C) New Farming Methods
1) Dry Farming- plant seeds deep to find moisture in
2) New lightweight steel plows- wooden plows
couldn’t penetrate soil
3) Windmills- helped pump water from wells
4) Barbed wire fencing to preserve wood
5) Houses- made out of sod
D) Oklahoma Land Rush
1) Last state settled was OK- April 22, 1889
a) 10,000 people lined up to stake
their claim
b) Some slipped in early- known as
c) Those who campaigned for the opening of
land were called “Boomers”
Native American Struggles
Following the Buffalo
* GP was home to many Native Americans
for thousands of years
* Plains Indians lived nomadic
life…followed & lived off of buffalo
* After the Civil War – RR’s hired hunters
to slaughter the buffalo
a) Used to feed RR workers
b) Keep them from blocking trains
A) Reservation Life
1) Large reservations in OK, & Dakota
2) Whites used trickery to get them there,
gave poor land, and never kept their promises
3) Native Am. accepted it at first, but tired
of it quickly – sets stage for conflict
Lakota Sioux Medicine Man / Chief
- Had a vision that the Sioux would
defeat the Americans at the Battle of
Little Big Horn. This inspired his
people and they defeated General
Custer & the 7th Cavalry.
-U.S. feared Sitting Bull would support
the Ghost Dance so they sent soldiers
to arrest him.
-During his arrest Sitting Bulls
followers protested and Sitting Bull is
shot and killed by reservation police.
Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief Crazy Horse
Took up arms against the U.S.
Government for encroachment on
Sioux land in the Dakota’s.
Led a war party that defeated the
Americans at the Battle of Little Big
Four months after surrendering to
General Crook in May, 1877, Crazy
Horse was fatally wounded by a
military guard using a bayonet.
Chiricahua Apache- Geronimo
-Fought against Spain and Texas for their
expansion into Apache tribal lands for several
decades during the Apache Wars
-Mother, wife, and three kids killed by
Mexicans during the Apache Wars.
-Continued to hate Mexicans for the rest
of his life.
-Surrendered to U.S. forces in 1886
Sent to Florida, then later to Ft. Sill, OK
B) Conflict Begins
1) Multiple battles occur between Native Americans & U.S.
Military during the 1860’s
C) Little Bighorn
1) Conflict over U.S. encroachment into the Black Hills in
the Dakotas (Black Hills were sacred to the Sioux)
2) Gold discovered in the Black Hills brought whites to the area and broke a treaty
that whites wouldn’t settle there
3) Sitting Bull has a vision that the Sioux will defeat the 7th Cavalry. This
inspires his people and they kill almost all of General Custer’s forces at the
Battle of Little Big Horn (Custer’s Last Stand)
4) U.S. Army eventually puts down Sioux rebellion and Sitting Bull flees to Canada
D) A Changing Culture
1) Many factors change Native American
* Slaughter of Buffalo, Army wars,
2) Congress passes Dawes Act
a) Try to make Native Am. Farmers &
b) Give them plots of land and acculturate
them into the white/civilized culture
E) Wounded Knee
1) Lakota Sioux gather at Wounded Knee Creek
– remembering Sitting Bull
2) U.S. Army goes to disarm them and 200
Sioux end up getting killed
3) Wounded Knee is last armed conflict
between U.S. Gov’t & Nat. Am.
Farmers In PROTEST
The Farmers Organize
*Farming grows after Civil WAR
* Supply grows faster than Demand- Causes prices to fall
* Farmers blame three groups:
a) Railroad—high price to ship
b) Eastern Manufactures– high prices
c) Bankers– high interest rates
A) The National Grange
1) Local organization of new farmers
2) Offered:
a) Education for new farmers
b) Social gatherings
c) Fellowship & Support
d) Encouraged economic self sufficiency
3) Set up Cooperatives (Co-Ops)
a) Charged lower prices bet failed due to shortages of
cash by farmers
B) The Farmers Alliance
1) Also meant to help protect the farmer
2) Offered some federal protection
3) Failed due to regional difference
A Party for the People
* Formed the Peoples Party– also known as the Populist
* Populism – appeal to the people
A) Populist Party
1) Claimed that gov’t, not private companies should own
2) Wanted to change money system to silver coins
3) Supported Political Reforms:
a) Single term for Pres. & VP
b) Direct elections of Senators
c) Secret ballots
d) Shorten work days
5) Failed because voting restriction on Af. Am. In the
South and Southern whites wouldn’t
because they sided with African Americans
CH.18 Vocabulary
• Vigilante- Ordinary people who carry out the
• Subsidy- Financial aid and land grants from
the government
• Transcontinental RR- Spans the continent and
connect the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean
• Extracting- removing
• Sum- amount of money
Transcontinental Railroad

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