Technology and the West The Essentials: AH2.H.3 - Understand the factors that led to exploration, settlement, movement, and expansion and their impact on United States development over time. Class objectives: Students should be able to understand… How and why the birth of the cattle industry led to the era of the American cowboy and new patterns of migration and settlement in the southwestern United States. How and why aridity, availability of land and new land laws influenced the westward migration and settlement of various groups, such as homesteaders and “sodbusters”. Homestead Act 1862 $10 fee laid claim to 160 acres of public land; occupant received title after living there for 5 years Anyone could file a claim, except former Confederates! 1.6 million homesteads were awarded Morrill Land-Grant Act 1862 States were awarded 30,000 acres of federal land for each member of the state’s Congressional delegation States could use or sell that land to fund the creation of colleges which would teach agricultural and military skills Colleges started under the Morrill Act include Auburn, UConn, Florida, Georgia, Purdue, Iowa St., Kansas St., Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, MIT, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio St., Penn St., Clemson, Tennessee, Va. Tech, & NCSU Oklahoma Land Rush As available land in the west began to disappear, pressure built to open the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to settlers 1889: Congress agreed to open the Territory to white settlers April 22, 1889: Thousands gathered on the border to race to claim a share of 2 million acres; some (called “Sooners”) snuck into the territory early to claim the best lands "Far & Away" Ranching Spanish had introduced cattle to the region in the 1600s; herds had been left to roam free and had evolved into the tough, lean Texas Longhorns Most cattle ranching took place in New Mexico & Texas Early ranchers took advantage of the Open Range , the vast open grasslands of the Great Plains owned by the government During the Civil War, beef prices soared due to a kill off of Eastern cattle to feed troops Railroads built in 1860s allowed western cattle to be moved east to meet beef demands Cattle were driven north out of Texas to railheads in Abilene & Dodge City, KS and Sedalia, MO using routes such as the Chisholm Trail Cowboys were a mix of former Confederate soldiers, Hispanics, and freed slaves Need for a Transcontinental Railroad To connect East Coast to Oregon and California Would reduce travel time from months to days Would lead to growth along the rail line But where should it be built? Southerners wanted a route out of New Orleans, which required purchase of land from Mexico (Gadsden Purchase) arranged by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis Northerners wanted a route out of Chicago, but Southerners blocked their efforts in hopes that they could barter the route for an expansion of slavery Pacific Railway Act 1862 Provided for construction of a transcontinental railroad as a joint effort between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads Both companies were given land along the right-of-way to encourage competition and rapid construction The Union Pacific Led by Grenville Dodge, former union general known for his organizational and managerial skills Started rail line heading west out of Omaha Nebraska in 1865 Union Pacific Workers Civil War vets Irish immigrants Bankrupt miners and farmers 10,000 men living in camps along the tracks and in rolling dorms Lots of rough living – gambling, drinking, fighting The Central Pacific Organized in California under 4 investors, including Leland Stanford, future governor of California and founder of Stanford University Hired 10,000 Chinese laborers Had drawback of having to have all equipment for railroad and for construction brought by ship Promontory, Utah 1869 Time Zones Introduced Time had been measured purely by the sun’s position, so what time it was determined locally 1883: American Railway Association divided nation into 4 time zones to ease railroad scheduling and improve safety by eliminating wrecks caused by discrepancies in how time was measured Standardization of Trains Hundreds of railroads consolidated into just 7 major companies, increasing efficiency, lowering shipping and travel costs, and allowing the development of improved technologies which further increased efficiency Railroads tied America’s regions together after the war, helping end sectionalism The Land Grant System Federal government gave land to railroad companies alongside their rail lines to encourage development Railroads sold this land to settlers to raise the capital needed to build the railroad Over 120 million acres of public lands were given to rail companies in mid-1800s Plow Technology Jethro Wood patented an ironbladed plow in 1819 John Deere patented a steelbladed plow in 1837 that could cut through tough sod of the Great Plains Steel plows were the only way for “sodbusters” to farm the prairie, but also led to the breakdown of prairie soils and loss of topsoil to wind & water erosion Mechanical Reaper Developed by Cyrus McCormick in 1834 Machine pulled by a horse could harvest far more grain than a man swinging a scythe, led to farmers planting more acreage and an increase in grain production Dry-farming Plant seeds deep in the ground where there is enough moisture to allow them to germinate Doesn’t require surface watering or depend as heavily on regular rainfall Mainly used for wheat and corn farming in the Great Plains The Wheat Belt Range Wars As farmers moved onto the plains, they needed to define and enclose their fields. As sheep ranchers moved in, they needed access to water and pastures. Both groups were in conflict with the cattle ranchers who depended on the open range to graze and move their herds. Brief but violent range wars became common. Barbed Wire Ends the Open Range Era Invented by Joseph Glidden in 1874 Allowed huge areas of land to be fenced off cheaply and easily Allowed farmers and sheep ranchers to fence in the prairie and shut down routes (like the Chisholm Trail) for driving cattle Forced cattle ranchers to change their practices, organize defined, enclosed ranches Farmers Fall on Hard Times In 1880s, a serious drought struck In 1890s, excessive wheat production caused prices to drop Farmers mortgaged their land to banks to survive, but often lost their land when they couldn’t meet their mortgage payments Commercial Farming Practiced mechanized farming Usually 50,000+ acres Called “bonanza farms” Massive investment was required in land and equipment Required hired laborers (most regular farms were family worked) Women in the West Outnumbered by men, so they had more opportunities Could own property & businesses, became influential community leaders Most were farmwives Some worked as cooks or laundresses Some worked at “hurdy-gurdy” houses A few were adventurers, such as Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane Burke Squirrel Tooth Alice Born as Libby Thompson in 1855 in Belton, Texas, Squirrel Tooth Alice received her name due to a gap between her front teeth and her penchant for keeping prairie dogs as pets. She was kidnapped as a young girl by the Comanche tribe. Kept for three years, she was shunned by society as a "marked" woman upon her release. At the age of 14 years old, she ran away to Abilene, Kansas, and became a dance hall girl and prostitute. After marrying Billy Thompson in 1873, she moved from Kansas to Texas to Colorado. In Sweetwater, she and her husband bought a ranch, and she opened a dance hall and successful brothel. She bore nine children (three of which were said to be her husband's), and retired successfully in 1921 at the age of 66. Immigrants in the West Thousands of Irish immigrants flooded the Midwest in the 1840s through 1870s Thousands of Chinese immigrants arrived in California to seek job opportunities Both groups would play a key role in building the West’s railroads African-Americans in the West Played a major role in the development of the West Worked on the railroads Worked as cowboys Settled in as farmers Served as soldiers in the Indian Wars “Buffalo soldiers” 4 all-black regiments of the US Army created in 1866 Nicknamed “buffalo soldiers” by the Native Americans they fought against for their dark, curly hair and fierce fighting ability, both of which reminded Indians of the buffalo The Exodusters: Exodusters was a name given to African Americans who fled the Southern United States for Kansas in 1879 and 1880. After the end of Reconstruction, racial oppression and rumors of the reinstitution of slavery led many freedmen to seek a new place to live. Many migrated to, and then settled, primarily in Kansas because of its fame as the land of the abolitionist John Brown (1800–1859). The state was reputed to be more progressive and tolerant than most others. Separatist leaders such as Benjamin "Pap" Singleton had promoted it among black Americans.