WESTERN FRONTIER

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WESTERN FRONTIER
1865-1900
SETTLEMENT
• Before 1860, nicknamed the “Great
American Desert”
– Winter blizzards
– Hot summers
– Discouraged settlement
• By 1900-covered with settlers
– Miners, cattlemen (cowboys), farmers
MINERS
• 1848-Gold discovered in California
• 1859-Gold discovered in Colorado & silver
discovered in Nevada
• 1/3rd of all miners were Chinese
• Establishment of major western cities
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Sacramento
San Francisco
Denver
Known as “safety values”
• Civilized society in an uncivilized land
CATTLEMEN (COWBOYS)
• Open grassland of Great Plains-ideal for running
cattle
• Learned from Mexican vaqueros
• Texas Longhorns
• Cattle towns-ship cows on railroad to Chicago
for butchering
– Abilene, Kansas-most famous
• Most cowboys-former slaves & Mexicans
• Long drives end due to drought, blizzards, &
homesteaders
FARMERS
(HOMESTEADERS)
• Homestead Act (1862)
– Gave 160 acres of land to any family who
would farm it for 5 years
– 500,000 families signed up
• Barbed Wire (1874)
– Invented by Joseph Glidden
– Fenced in the land from invaders
• Great Oklahoma land race (1889)
“TURNER’S THESIS”
• 1890-US census declared the “frontier” settled
• Frederick Jackson Turner
– Writes “The Significance of the Frontier in American
History”(1893)
• Known as “Turner’s Thesis”
– Frontier necessary
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Promoted independence
Broke down social barriers
Encouraged invention
Condemned to follow pattern of class division & social
conflicts in European countries
AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION
• By late 1800s, farmers minority in America
– amount of farm land increased (more acres)
– Number of farmers decreased
• Why?
– New farm machinery
– Specialization
– Small farmers can’t compete
• Sell or lose farms
• Lower prices & rising costs hurt all farmers
• Decide to fight back against banks & railroads
through the government
NATIONAL GRANGE MOVEMENT
• 1868-Oliver Kelley organizes the Patrons of
Husbandry
– Purpose: social & educational activities for
farmers
– Talk turns to politics-Became “Grangers”
NATIONAL GRANGE MOVEMENT
• Grange laws-reduced rates of railroads
• Interstate Commerce Act
– First federal regulation of private industry
– Public utilities-”rates must be reasonable &
just”
– Interstate Commerce Commission
• By 1890-one million farmers had joined
FARMERS’ ALLIANCE
• 1890-Grange changes name to Alliance
• Third political party status
• Platform
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Direct election of Senators
Lower tariff rates
Graduated income tax
Regulated banking system
Increase money in circulation
Federal storage for crops
Federal loans for farmers
POPULIST PARTY
• 1892-Farmers’ Alliance changed name to Populist
• Met in Omaha, NE
– Nominate candidates
– Form platform
• Platform
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Direct election of senators
State laws agreed by voters
Increase money supply
Graduated income tax
Federal ownership of public utilities
Stabilize farm prices
8 hour day for industrial workers-why?
POPULIST PARTY
• Successful?
– Election of 1892-James Weaver
• Received 1 million popular votes & 22 electoral votes
• More than any other 3rd party candidate
– Election of 1896-William Jennings Bryan
• Nominated by both Democrats & Populists
• Fails to win industrialized north
– Declined after 1896, but…
• Two planks of platform eventually passed by Progressive
Party
– Direct election of senators & graduated income tax
REMOVAL OF NATIVE
AMERICANS
• Since the 1830s-Reservation Policy
• With American settlement of the Great
Plaines-need to move Natives again
• Plans interrupted by Civil War & Natives
took advantage by leaving reservations
INDIAN WARS
1870-1890
• Civil War veterans sent to “take care” of Indian
problem
• Better weapons & desensitized to war
• By 1868-90% of Natives on Reservations, the
rest considered “hostile” and were warned to go
to reservations
• Conducted “winter campaigns”
– Tribes stationary
– Horse in hibernation
– Culture taught-catch Indians off guard
INDIAN WARS
1870-1890
• Most known battle-Little Big Horn
– June 25, 1877
– 7th Calvary led by George Armstrong Custer
– Sioux Indians led by Sitting Bull & Crazy
Horse
– Custer’s Big Mistake
– Custer killed & Calvary massacred
INDIAN WARS
1870-1890
• Longest hold out
– Chief Joseph & Nez Perce tribe
– “I will fight no more forever.”
• Slaughter of the buffalo & poisoning of the rivers
led to ultimate demise of Plaines Indians
• Dawes Act (1887)
– New Indian policy-assimilation/destroy Indian Culture
– Established Indian Bureau of Schools
INDIAN WARS
1870-1890
• Ghost Dance
– Indians losing hope
– Dream of Nevada Paiute-Wovoka
• “Messiah” Indian-save from reservation & bring
back buffalo
• Created Ghost Dance-all Natives perform at same
time
• 1890-Federal government outlaws ghost dance
INDIAN WARS
1870-1890
• Massacre at Wounded Knee
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Group of Sioux Indians on way to reservation
Camp outside of military fort
Performed the Ghost Dance
Troops come to arrest leaders & take weapons
Fighting breaks out-troops win
Blizzard hits-lasts for 3 days
When troops go back to camp-only 6 adults & 3
children left out of 300
– Considered the last battle of the Indian Wars
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