AHON_ch17_S4 - Epiphany Catholic School

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Chapter
17 Section 4
Objectives
• Identify what attracted farmers to the Great
Plains.
• Describe how people adapted to life on the
Plains.
• Summarize the results of the Oklahoma Land
Rush.
• Explain how economic issues led farmers to
organize to seek reform.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Terms and People
• homesteader – settler who acquired free land
from the government
• sod – a surface layer of earth in which the roots
of grasses tangle with soil
• sodbuster – Plains farmer
• sooner – person who sneaked onto land early
during the Oklahoma Land Rush
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Terms and People (continued)
• grange – group of farmers who met for
lectures, sewing bees, and other events
• farm cooperative – group of farmers who pool
their money to make large purchases of tools,
seed, and other supplies at a discount
• inflation – general rise in prices
• William Jennings Bryan – Democratic
presidential candidate in 1896; the “Great
Commoner”
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
How did farmers on the Plains
struggle to make a living?
Miners, rail workers, ranchers, and cowhands
were not the only people inspired to move
west.
By 1900, half a million farmers had settled on
the Great Plains.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
In 1862, Congress passed a law to give more
people the chance to own farms in the West.
Homestead Act
Gave 160 acres to anyone who
lived on the land for five years
Conditions on the Plains were so harsh, however,
that few homesteaders stayed five years.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
The railroads were more successful at luring
farmers west.
More people meant
more business. So
the railroads gave
some of their land
away to settlers
willing to move
west.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
People from around the country and around
the world rushed west to claim free land.
Easterners
African American
Exodusters
Free land
Europeans
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Life on the prairie was difficult. Water was scarce,
and crops were difficult to grow.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
With no wood, families built houses from bricks made of
sod.
Men, women,
and children all
had jobs to do
to help the
farm—and the
family—survive.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
New tools and farming methods eventually made life
easier.
steel plow
cut through tough sod
drill
planted
seeds
windmill
pumped
water from
the ground
Farming in the West
reaper
harvested
crops
thresher
removed
grain
coverings
Chapter
17 Section 4
Among the new inventions was barbed wire,
which was used for fences so cattle and other
animals would not trample the crops.
crops
cattle
cattle
cattle
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
By the 1880s, little free land was left.
In 1889, the government allowed settlers to claim
one last open area—what once was Indian
Territory—in the Oklahoma Land Rush.
sooners
Oklahoma
boomers
sooners
“Boomers” lined up to claim free homesteads, but
“sooners” who jumped the gun claimed most of
the best land.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
By 1890, there was no land left for
homesteading and, after gradually moving
west, the frontier finally closed.
frontier
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
With hard work, many Plains farmers began producing
bountiful harvests. Crop surpluses, however, drove
prices down.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Small farmers were hit hard by the drop in prices.
Deep in debt, many lost their land. To protest
their hardships, farmers joined together in
granges and farm cooperatives to demand
reforms.
National Grange
Farmers
Farmers’ Alliance
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
In 1892, farmers joined with labor unions to
form the Populist Party.
Populist Reforms
• public ownership of railroads and warehouses
• income taxes to replace sales taxes
• eight-hour workday
• use of silver to back the money supply
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Populists believed that adding silver to the
nation’s money standard would trigger
inflation.
Rising prices, they
hoped, would
benefit farmers by
bringing more
money for crops.
Farming in the West
crop
prices
Chapter
17 Section 4
In 1896, the Populists supported William Jennings
Bryan for President.
Though he won
many western
states, Bryan lost
the election.
Populist support
soon faded.
Farming in the West
Chapter
17 Section 4
Section Review
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Farming in the West
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