Unit 2
Westward Expansion and the “Gilded
Age”
Section 2-1
• Why was there a need for beef after the
Civil War?
– Eastern cattle had been slaughtered to
feed the Union/Confederate armies
• Cattle were available in Texas, (Longhorns)
if you could round them up.
• Who did this—Cowboys
• Where did the Cowboys come from/ who
were they?
1.
2.
3.
Civil war vets looking for work
Freed slaves
Hispanics
Section 2-1
• Cattle roamed free on the “open range,” vast
open land owned by the federal government
Section 2-1
• Cowboys found they
could sell cattle for a
huge profit, if they got
them to the railroad
– This resulted in cattle
drives.
• The most famous
cattle drives were on
the Chisholm Trail
from Texas to Kansas
Section 2-1
• Joseph Glidden ended the
cowboy culture with the
invention of barbed wire
– How did barbed wire end
the cowboy way of life?
• Barbed wire was used by
homesteaders
(farmers/ranchers), who
fenced off land, and blocked
the cattle trails
Note Quiz
1. Explain how barbed wire ended the cowboy
culture, and cattle drives
2. What was the most famous cattle drive/trail?
3. Explain why there was a need for beef after
the Civil War
4. Name 2 of 3 groups of people who became
cowboys
5. Who invented barbed wire?
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and
conflict with Indians
• After the Civil War industries in
the East wanted the gold, silver,
and copper buried in mountains
out west
• An average person could strike it
rich through placer mining,
using pick axes, shovels, and
pans
• Big businesses got the precious
metals and minerals by
tunneling underground. This
was known as quartz mining.
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• The rush for minerals and
precious metals made white
settlers rush out to small
outposts in Nevada, Colorado,
Arizona
• These small outposts became
crowded boomtowns
overnight, rife with crime
• When the gold/silver/copper
disappeared, the boomtown
became a “ghost town”
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• The area between the Mississippi River and the
Rocky Mountains is known as the Great Plains
– Vast rolling hills, or completely flat
– Originally called “The Great American Desert,”
– Ideal for growing wheat
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• Railroads gave settlers easier
access to the Plains region
• Homestead Act of 1862:
legislation that allowed settlers
to apply for a homestead
– 10$ application
– Got you
• 160 acres of land that you
owned after living on it 5 years
• So, how did the railroad and the
U.S. government encourage the
settling of the Great Plains?
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• Dry farming was method for farming
wheat
– In dry farming farmers plant seeds
down deep in soil, moisture allows
them to grow
• The first wave of homesteaders were
nicknamed sodbusters. They often
lost their farms due to drought,
erosion, or misuse of the land
• New technology makes wheat
farming more profitable, Plains
region becomes known as the
“wheat belt”
• Bonanza farms were huge wheat
farms (more than 50k acres) that
were very profitable.
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• 1860’s: Indians begin attacking
miners, ranchers moving out west.
Indians are gathered to negotiate
peace, but are killed at the Sand
Creek Massacre
• By 1876, buffalo herds are gone.
U.S. government tries to round up
last bands of Sioux, Cheyenne
Indians
• George Custer and the 7th Cavalry
are annihilated by 2,000 Sioux and
Cheyenne at The Battle of Little
Bighorn
• It is the last great victory for Native
Americans against the U.S.
government
2-2: Miners, Homesteaders, and conflict
with Indians
• Final resistance to the U.S. government was
violently crushed when over 250 men,
women, and children were killed by the U.S.
army at Wounded Knee Creek
• The U.S. tried to get Native Americans to
assimilate—adopt white culture, customs
and English
• The U.S. government encouraged this
through the Dawes Act of 1887
– The Dawes Act tried to put Indians on
homesteads, get them to farm like whites
• Dawes Act was ultimately a failure
– Native Americans didn’t want to give up
their way of life
Note Quiz
1. Explain how the Dawes Act tried to assimilate
Native Americans into white culture?
2. What conflict was the final resistance to U.S.
government by Native Americans?
3. What was a huge wheat farm that was very
profitable called?
4. What was the nickname to outposts that turned
into busy cities because of silver and gold?
5. What were two reasons that motivated people
to settle on the Great Plains?
The Rise and Fall of the
Populist Party
1867-1896
Farmers’ Problems
• Crop prices fell
• Farmers had no cash, went
further into debt, and their lenders
foreclosed on their mortgages
• The railroad companies charged
outrageous prices to ship crops
(no regulation!)
16
Farmers’ Demands
• Regulate the railroad companies (Stop
them from charging such high rates)
• Make cash more available (back the dollar
with silver, not gold, so dollar would be
worth less)
• Constitutional demands: single term for
President and Vice-President, secret ballot,
popular election of Senators
• To get industrial workers to support them:
8-hour workday, restrict immigration
17
Different Groups Representing
Farmers’ Interests
• 1867: The Patrons of Husbandry
(The Grange)
• 1880s: Farmers’ Alliance and
Colored Farmers’ National Alliance
• 1892: Birth of the Populist, or
People’s Party
18
1892 Presidential Election: Populist
candidate won over a million votes!
19
1896 Election
Democrats – 1890s
• Southerners
• Wealthy farmers
• Supported low tariffs
(wanted other
countries to buy their
crops)
Republicans – 1890s
• Northerners
• Wealthy business
men (connected to
the railroad)
• Southern African
Americans (poor
farmers)
• Supported high tariffs
(didn’t want to
compete with other
countries’ products)
20
1896 Election
Populists decide to improve their
chances by supporting the
Democratic candidate, William
Jennings Bryan, who agreed to
support the silver-backed dollar.
21
1896 Presidential Election: Bryan loses
but carries most of the South and West
22
Central Historical Question
Why did the Populist Party attract
millions of supporters?
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