- Sope Creek Elementary School

a. Describe the role of the cattle trails in the late 19th century; include the Black
Cowboys of Texas, the Great Western Cattle Trail, and the Chisholm Trail.
b. Describe the impact on American life of the Wright brothers (flight), George
Washington Carver (science), Alexander Graham Bell (communication), and Thomas
Edison (electricity).
c. Explain how William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt expanded America’s role in
the world; include the Spanish-American War and the building of the Panama Canal.
d. Describe the reasons people emigrated to the United States, from where they
emigrated, and where they settled.
e. Describe the impact of westward expansion on Native Americans; include the Battle
of the Little Bighorn and the relocation of Native Americans to reservations.
When the Civil War came to an end, the nation was
in need of repair. Slaves were now free, but parts
of the country had been destroyed. The cost of the
war was high and jobs were scarce. In Texas,
though little fighting occurred there, areas were
ruined, yet cattle were abundant. You could say
that the longhorns rescued Texas.
What do you think happened to the
price of cattle in Texas since there
were so many of them?
Library of Congress
As Northern cities grew, beef was in demand. With
supply low and demand high, people were willing to
pay $40 a head for cattle. The high price was an
incentive for ranchers. The abundance of cattle in
Texas and the increasing demand in the North helped
shape the cattle trails of the 1800s. Cowboys began
driving their longhorns to new railroad towns in
Kansas, connecting the
open range with Kansas
and beyond.
During the Civil War, while many Texans were fighting, the
cattle multiplied. By the mid 1860s, cattle were worth $4 a
head in Texas, but were worth $40 a head in both the North and
the East. The Chisholm Trail, one of the largest in the country,
was named for trader Jesse Chisholm. Herds as large as ten
thousand were driven on this trail from Texas to Kansas,
walking about ten miles a day. The Chisholm Trail had its
advantages over other trails. It was further west and avoided
farmers that did not want cattle passing through their land.
Streams were also smaller and easier to cross, grass was better,
and less skirmishes with Indians was a definite plus.
The Great Western Trail, less known than the famous
Chisholm Trail, was actually longer in length and was in
existence two years longer than the Chisholm Trail.
Transport on the trail declined in 1885 with the
introduction of barbed wire. Overgrazing, drought,
and the expansion of railroads covering
most of the country led to the eventual
end of the cattle trails.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/421746829
Life on the trail was anything but easy. Driving about 1500-2500
cattle a day was difficult. Cowboys took turns guarding the herd,
often singing them songs to calm the restless animals. The routine
was often boring and tedious, unless a rattlesnake crossed their path.
Working to exhaustion daily, coupled with bad weather, cowboys
were suspect to illness. The threat of stampede was what cowboys
feared the most. If cattle were frightened, a stampede was likely and
destruction could be horrific. Wages were about $40 a month, paid
only after the cattle were sold.
Library of Congress
Towns along the trails, such as Abilene, Kansas,
flourished and grew. The economy of towns that
were suitable for railroads improved. These
towns soon became headquarters for buying and
selling. Abilene, and other railheads, were where
herds of cattle were shipped to the stockyards.
Additionally, towns along the trails also
prospered as riders needed to stop for rest and
Though we most often see white cowboys in the western movies, truth be
told, one out of every four cowboys following the Civil War were
African American. Between the years of 1865 to 1880, a cowboy was
one of the few opportunities or professions a former slave could hold
with dignity, encountering less discrimination along the trail than other
professions. A typical crew on the trail consisted of a trail chief, a cook,
and usually eight cowboys to take care of the horses. Between these
years, an average crew often included two or three black cowboys.
Nat Love, born a slave in Tennessee, was the most
famous of all African American cowboys.
Library of Congress
At the same time that African Americans were enslaved
and mistreated, the federal government, under President
Andrew Jackson, supported the removal of Native
American tribes in southeastern states to western
territories. Just as slavery was a controversial issue, so
was the Indian Removal Act of the 1830s. For some
Americans, removal was welcomed as it permitted them
to move onto Native American land, for others, this was
cruel and wrong.
After the Civil War, the 14th amendment was ratified to ensure Civil
Rights for Americans not presently receiving them. This
amendment gave citizenship to all person regardless of race that
were born or naturalized in the United States. It further ensured
that no person would be deprived of life, liberty or property
without due process of law, and no person could be denied equal
protection of the laws. Despite the wording this amendment - “No
Person” – this still did not include Native Americans.
Even Ulysses S. Grant acknowledged these
inequalities in his inaugural address in 1869. Grant
stated, “The proper treatment of the original
occupants of this land--the Indians [is] one
deserving of careful study. I will favor any course
toward them which tends to their civilization and
ultimate citizenship.”
Grant’s Inauguration
March 4, 1869
Library of Congress
The inequality in treatment, the taking of Native American land, and the further
destruction of their main source of food, adversely impacted the lives of Native
Americans in this era.
Santanta, Chief of the Kiowas, was quoted as saying, “A long time ago this land
belonged to our fathers; but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers here
on its bank. These soldiers cut down my timber; they kill my buffalo; and when I
see that, my heart feels like bursting; I feel sorry.”
Click on picture to view
short video of Impact of
the Indian Removal Act
Wikipedia Commons
Map showing the lands
Assigned to Emigrant
Library of Congress
As westward expansion continued, additional territories were opened to settlers,
which was in direct violation of the Treaty of Fort Laramie. Angry Sioux and
Cheyenne Indians left their reservations and prepared to fight for their land. Lt.
Colonel George Custer and his Seventh Calvary ignored orders to wait and
decided to attack. Not realizing the number of warriors, Custer and his men
were eventually killed in what is considered the worst American military
disaster ever. In spite of the victory, boundary lines were redrawn by the
American government, placing the Black Hills outside of the reservation and
open for settlement. “Custer’s last stand” turned out to be the last stand for the
broken Sioux as well.
Library of Congress
As many were migrating to the move North and West, the
population in America increased dramatically with
immigrants flooding into the country. Waves of
immigrants arrived in the U.S. and American cities
Immigrants came to America for different reasons. Many
were fleeing economic or political deprivation in their
country. Others escaped famine and/or religious
persecution. The rise of industries and the growth of the
railroad system created thousands of jobs that offered
powerful incentives to prospective immigrants seeking a
new life. By many, America was considered the Golden
Land or the Land of Opportunity.
Click on map for interactive
map of European emigrants.
Captions include the country/
countries they left and the
reason/s for immigration.
Immigrants entering
The country from
Europe usually came
through Ellis Island.
Not every immigrant
entered through this
immigration station.
First class immigrants
were examined on the
ship, while steerage,
or third-class faced
the prospect of
deportation at Ellis
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Port of Angel Island
Immigrants from Asia entered the country through the
Immigration station off the coast of California, Angel Island.
The “Golden Land” was not exactly golden for every
immigrant. Many immigrants lived in tenements. A
tenement is a run-down and often overcrowded
apartment in large cities. Many were still discriminated
against and given the most difficult or dangerous jobs to
perform. Hours were long, pay was low and conditions
were unsafe.
Library of Congress
The 1800s was a Golden Age for America though in
the terms of inventions and technology. Much of
the economic growth of the United States can be
contributed to immigrant inventors. This era
brought many new inventions and improved
technology immeasurably.
Orville and Wilbur Wright, not only solved a long-studied
technical problem in aviation, but opened a whole new
world through travel. Their flight in Kitty Hawk, NC, may
have only lasted 12 seconds, but it was significant as it was
the first manned, powered, and flight-controlled aircraft
ever. The basics of their science and engineering helped
advance flight and literally put a man on the moon.
Click on photo to
view short video
on the first flight
Library of Congress
Thomas Edison is probably the most famous of all American inventors. He holds a
world record of 1,093 patents, either singly or jointly. Before he died, he had
invented the phonograph, the transmitter for the telephone speaker, an improved
light bulb, and key elements of motion-picture apparatus, as well as other bright
inventions. He also created the world's first industrial research laboratory.
During World War I, Edison was approached by the U.S. government to head
the Naval Consulting Board. Due to his beliefs on violence, he agreed, but only
to work on defensive weapons.
Click on photo to
learn more about Edison
Library of Congress
George Washington Carver was born a slave. Free after the Civil War, the search
for knowledge became a driving force in his life. Since many schools would
not accept blacks, George was taught by his mom, but eventually graduated
high school and college. He began working as a teacher at the AfricanAmerican Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Carver conducted research on
methods of crop rotation and alternative cash crops using the peanut. His work
in this area helped struggling sharecroppers in the South. He devised over 100
products using the peanut—including dyes, plastics and gasoline, and became
one of the most famous agricultural scientists ever.
Carver is buried on the grounds of the Tuskegee Institute.
His epitaph reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but
caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being
helpful to the world.”
Library of Congress
Alexander Graham Bell, born in Scotland, was another
immigrant inventor that changed America and the world.
Bell took up his father’s cause of teaching speech to the
deaf. It was this cause and many years working on the
transmission of sound by electricity, that the invention of the
telephone came about. He established Bell Telephone, the
first telephone company, continued to experiment in
communication and in techniques for teaching speech to the
Early drawings by Bell
Kept in a folder titled,
“The Telephone” , found
at the Library of Congress.
Though William McKinley’s presidency was cut short with
his assassination in 1901, McKinley will be remembered
for moving the United States onto the world stage. At
the time of McKinley’s presidency, the U.S. was being
blamed for imperialism. Imperialism is defined as “the
policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or
nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and
holding colonies and dependencies.”
McKinley did much to expand the nation and
promote industrialization. His presidency was one
that witnessed rapid economic growth in the
country. Initially against war with Spain, when
compromise was impossible, the U.S. declared war
on Spain and the Spanish-American War began.
The short-lived war resulted in a U.S. gain of the
Spanish colonies of Guam, Puerto Rico and the
Philippines, and Cuba gained independence.
During his administration, McKinley also annexed
Hawaii as a U.S. territory, further expanding the
Puerto Rico
William McKinley’s reelection poster in 1900, and U.S. territories
gained during his presidency.
Teddy Roosevelt had pushed for war against Spain. When this occurred, he
quickly called for volunteers to be part of a regiment he called “The Rough
Riders”. This group consisted of about 1,250 men; mostly cowboys, Indians,
and Ivy League athletes. The common thread between these men were they
could ride, shoot and would be in shape without the need for extensive
training. Click on the picture to watch a short video about Roosevelt and his
Rough Riders. Unfortunately, about 37 percent of the men were casualties,
but most lost their lives because of tropical diseases, such as malaria, not
After his success in Cuba, McKinley asked Theodore Roosevelt to be
his running mate for his second term. When McKinley was
assassinated, Roosevelt began his presidency. As president, he
saw the need for a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans, and a way to unite the territories the U.S. now held.
Roosevelt worked hard to ensure the construction of the Panama
Canal, but first he had to gain control of the land where the canal
would be built. At the time, Colombia owned Panama, and when
they would not agree to the canal, a revolution, though brief, was
engineered. The U.S. gained control, and the building of the canal
was underway.
There were many factors which brought about the Spanish American War,
primarily, the U.S. had been disturbed by the relationship between Spain and
Cuba. Hoping to maintain good relations with Cuba for economic reasons,
President McKinley sent the warship, the U.S.S. Maine, to Havana Harbor to
protect U.S. interests there. When the Maine exploded suddenly, Spain was
believed to be at fault. “Yellow journalism”, an exaggeration of facts or events,
led many Americans to believe Spain was responsible. A Republican Senator
was quoted as saying, “Outside Havana all is changed. It is not peace, nor is it
war. It is desolation and distress, misery and starvation.” Within days, Congress
declared War on Spain. Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, the
war lasted approximately 100 days.
The destroyed U.S.S. Maine in
Havana Harbor, Cuba
Library of Congress
Construction of the canal
Click on map to watch a live cam of the Panama Canal
Lock construction on
the canal
Fasttrack Teaching Materials. Springfield, VA. Copyright 1999. Used by Permission.
Santella, Andrew. The Chisholm Trail. Children’s Press. New York, 1997.