Americas Westward Movement

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					America’s Westward
The Closing of the Frontier
     • From the early stages
       of American history,
       Americans began
       moving West away from
       the more settled regions
       to frontier areas.
     • First, these early
       Western settlers moved
       to the Appalachian
       Mountains, and later
       they crossed over them
       into Western
       Kentucky, and
Early Westward Movement
            • Early Western settlers
              moved into an area
              called the Northwest
              Territory, which
              included Ohio, Indiana,
              Michigan, Illinois,
              Wisconsin, Michigan,
              and much of Minnesota.
            • Later, settlers moved
              into the Southern
              frontier, to areas that
              would become
              Alabama, Mississippi,
              and Arkansas.
Interaction with Native
            • All of the land settled by the
              American settlers was
              inhabited by Native
              Americans or used by them
              for hunting and farming.
            • Negotiations for land took
              place, and treaties were
              signed to avoid conflict, but
              these deals were usually
              ignored by the settlers when
              they became inconvenient.
            • Wars between settlers and
              Native Americans took place
              throughout the early Western
Indian Removal
       • In the 1820’s, as the Cotton
         industry began to grow,
         white settlers saw the
         potential of more land to be
         had in the deep Southeast,
         or Alabama, Florida,
       • To get ownership of this land
         the U.S. government
         forcefully removed the Five
         Civilized Tribes to the new
         Indian Territory in what is
         now Oklahoma.
Louisiana Purchase
         • In 1803, Thomas
           Jefferson purchased
           828,800 square miles of
           territory from France,
           west of the Mississippi
         • In 1804 he sent an
           expedition led by
           Meriwether Lewis and
           William Clark to explore
           the territory.
The Fur Trade and Mountain Men
               •   The First Americans to enter the
                   far West in large numbers were
                   trappers and fur traders.
               •   Until the 1840’s beaver hats
                   were fashionable in Europe, and
                   this demand made trapping a
                   lucrative business.
               •   These “Mountain Men” usually
                   forged good relations with
                   Native Americans, and learned
                   many skills from them, and
                   picked up key information on
                   the geography of the area.
               •   The Mountain Men were skilled
                   in hunting, survival, and
                   tracking, marking passes
                   through mountain ranges, and
                   setting trails for future settlers
                   like the Oregon Trail.
   • Americans began entering
     Mexico, in what is now
     Texas from the time Mexico
     became independent in
     1810. The Mexican
     government initially
     encouraged these settlers.
   • These new Texans brought
     slavery and cotton with them
     from the U.S. and many
     others established
     successful farms.
   • By the 1820’s some of these
     Americans wanted
     independence from Mexico,
     which they won in 1836,
     forming the Republic of
     Texas. Texas joined the
     Union in 1845.
Mexican War
      • From 1846 to 1848 the
        United States fought a
        war with Mexico over
        the disputed boundary
        in the new state of
      • The U.S. victory in the
        war led to the Treaty of
        Guadalupe Hidalgo and
        gave to the U.S. all of
        the territory seen at left
        in Red. Later the
        Gadsden Purchase
        added the territory in
     • In 1848, gold was
       discovered in California by
       John Sutter. In 1849
       thousands of people,
       popularly called “49er’s”,
       flocked to California to get
       into the mining business.
     • The population of California
       had gone from 14,000 in
       1848, to 200,000 in 1852.
     • Some of the miners struck it
       rich, but most lived tough
       lives in mining camps hoping
       for the big strike.
     • During this time San
       Francisco became a major
       city and port.
Other Mining Strikes
          • After most of the California
            gold played out, other strikes
            were made in states such as
            Colorado, Utah, Arizona,
            New Mexico, Montana, and
            South Dakota. Mining towns
            developed in each of these
            future states.
          • Silver was also discovered in
            Nevada, where boom towns
            developed seemingly over
          • These mining towns were
            often filled with saloons,
            casinos, and brothels, as
            they were fairly lawless, and
            there were few women of
            “respectable” character.
The Great American Desert
              • The area that we now call
                the great plains was once
                thought by the white men
                that crossed it do be largely
                inhabitable, except to the
                Native Americans who lived
                there. They called the plains
                the “Great American Desert”.
              • This largely treeless area of
                grasslands covers parts of
                Kansas, Nebraska,
                Oklahoma, Texas, South
                Dakota, North Dakota,
                Montana, Wyoming,
                Colorado, and New Mexico.
Buffalo   • On the Great Plains lived an
            abundance of wild life, none
            more impressive than the
            American Bison, or buffalo.
          • Millions of buffalo roamed
            the grasslands and provided
            the native tribes of the plains
            with food, clothing, shelter,
            and other tools.
          • In the mid-1800’s white
            commercial hunters began to
            move into the area to hunt
            them for their skins.
          • As railroads moved west
            even more hunting took
            place, along with deliberate
            hunting by the U.S. Army. By
            the end of the 1800’s only a
            few hundred buffalo were
                               • There were hundreds of
Native Americans of the West     Native American Tribes in
                                 the western states, each with
                                 their own distinct culture.
                               • Some tribes like Pawnee,
                                 Iowa, and Wichita on the
                                 plains, the Pueblo,Navaho,
                                 and Apache in the
                                 Southwest, and the Nez
                                 Perce and Chinook in the
                                 Northwest were mostly
                                 sedentary,relying on both
                                 agriculture, hunting, and
                                 fishing for survival.
                               • Some tribes, like the Makah
                                 in what is now Washington
                                 State relied heavily on
                               • The more famous Western
                                 Indians were the plains
                                 tribes who were usually
                                 almost exclusively nomadic
A New Wave of Settlers
           • After the mountain men,
             settlers began moving
             to Western areas to
             farm, following trails the
             mountain men had
             blazed, such as the
             Oregon trail, the Santa
             Fe Trail, and others.
           • These new settlers
             crossed the great plains
             in wagon trains
           • The journey west would
             usually take 3-6
             months, and could be
             quite perilous.
Homestead Act
       •   In 1862, Abraham Lincoln
           signed the Homestead Act,
           which gave 160 acres of unused
           federal land West of the
           Mississippi River to anyone 21
           or older who was willing to file
           an application, settle and
           improve the land for 5 years,
           and then file a deed.
       •   The Homestead Act greatly
           increased Western Settlement.
       •   Though farming on the plains
           was tough, the steel plow,
           invented by John Deere in
           1836, made it easier and
           eventually this was some of the
           most successful farmland in the
Conflict With Native
          • As more and more settlers
            moved West, conflict with
            Native Americans increased.
          • Many times the settlers were
            breaking treaties signed by
            the government with the
          • The United States Army was
            chiefly responsible for
            putting down the Native
            American “threat” to
          • The official policy of the U.S.
            regarding the Indians of the
            West was to force them onto
 Indian Wars (and massacres)
• There were literally hundreds of battles, skirmishes, and
  ambushes involving settlers, soldiers, and Indians in the West,
  from the sporadic fighting against the Apache in the desert, to
  the great battles against the Sioux on the Plains.
• The U.S. Army fought vicious campaigns to put the Indians on
  reservations, and while they typically were honorable,
  sometimes they resorted to the massacre of Native Americans
  as in the case of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 described
• “I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse
  mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to
  pieces ... With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out;
  children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from
  sucking infants up to warriors ... By whom were they mutilated?
  By the United States troops”. - John S. Smith, Congressional
  Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865
                U.S. Cavalry

• Most of the Indian Wars were fought by the U.S.
  Army Cavalry. Infantry, of course played a role, but
  on the great plains, horse soldiers were vital.
• One of the most famous Cavalry outfits of the late
  1800’s was the 10th Cavalry, sometimes known as
  the Buffalo Soldiers. This was an all African American
  Unit under white officers, famous for fighting Indians
  in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.
            No More Forever
• Despite the commitment of many Native Americans
  to fight to the death for their lands and way of life,
  and the bravery of they frequently displayed, the U.S.
  Army, the destruction of the buffalo, and the closing
  down of the frontier proved to be too much for them.
• Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, once stated that the
  fight was no longer sustainable, and said “I will fight
  no more forever.”
• By the 1890’s, almost all of the Western tribes had
  been defeated and placed onto reservations.
• There they were encouraged to assimilate into white
• Many times Indian Reservations were located on the
  least valuable land.
Cattle and the Open Range
             • When the Spanish
               settled in the Americas
               they brought cattle with
               them. These Spanish
               cattle flourished on the
               grassy plains of the
               West, especially in
             • This breed of cattle was
               called the Texas
               Longhorn, for its
               distinctive long horns.
   Cattle and the Open Range
• In the 1830’s and 1840’s Texans were already attempting to
  drive cattle long distances to places like New Orleans, and
  northern states like Illinois. These early cattle drives were not
  particularly successful.
• During the Civil War, before the Mississippi River was closed by
  Union forces, Texans drove cattle to the Confederacy for a
  supply of beef.
• In 1865 Phillip Armour opened a huge meat packing plant in
  Chicago, and demand for beef increased significantly.
• In 1866 the first large scale attempt to drive huge herds of Texas
  cattle north to railroad lines in Missouri was made. Farmers
  living on the trail resisted these attempts, and the drive failed.
• The following year, another large scale drive was made, this
  time to the rail head in Abilene, Kansas. Since this drive avoided
  farmland, the drive was successful, and the age of the open
  range began.
  Cattle and the Open Range
• As the price of cattle increased to as much as $40
  dollars a head, thousands of people flocked to the
  West to open large cattle operations, work as
  cowboys, or to capitalize on this new industry in other
• From the 1860’s until the 1880’s, the Federal land in
  the West was “open range”, and the cattle were free
  to roam and graze on the vast expanses of
• Initially the herds were located in Texas, but as time
  went by, the herds were driven to open spaces in
  New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, the Dakotas,
  Wyoming, and Montana, to gain access to more
  grazing land.
How the Open Range worked.
• Most cattle were free to roam in a semi-wild
  state largely unattended for most of the year.
  To distinguish one company’s cattle from
  another’s, the cattle were given the
  company’s distinct brand.
• Early in the spring, roundups were held when
  each company would gather up their cattle
  and brand new calfs.
• Later, the cattle were driven rail heads, where
  they would be sold.
How the Open Range worked.
• The men who worked the cattle came to be known as
  cowhands, or sometimes, cowboys. These men had
  to be skilled horseback riders, and competent with
  roping. Most cowhands had 3 or more horses to use
  on a drive
• Specially trained personnel included a cook who
  operated a kitchen wagon called the chuck wagon,
  and the wrangler, whose responsibility was to train
  and care for the horses. Specialized horses called
  “cutters” and highly skilled riders could separate a
  single cattle from the heard, maneuver the cattle with
  their movements, and prevent stampedes.
• Before a drive the cowhands lived in a barracks style
  “bunkhouse”. During the drive the hands slept in the
How the Open Range worked.
• The average drive consisted of 3000 or more head of
• To ensure that the cows did not lose to much weight
  on a drive, the pace had to be somewhat slow. While
  the cattle could be driven as much as 25 miles a day,
  15 miles was the best pace.
• As a result of the slow pace, drives would usually last
  two and sometimes three months.
• At night, hands worked in shifts to move the herd,
  and prevent stampedes and rustling, or stealing
• Since many drives took place in Indian Territory,
  conflict with Native Americans did occur, but was
  usually rare. Usually the companies paid the Indians
  15 cents a head, and peace was maintained.
           The End of the line.
• When the drive reached cowtowns, such as Abilene, Dodge
  City, or Witchita, the cattle would be sold, and the hands would
  receive their pay.
• The cowtowns were the first place the hands had to enjoy
  themselves for sometime, and gambling and drinking was quite
  common. Violence could often flair up, and town famed town
  marshalls such as Wild Bill Hickock, and Wyatt Earp as well as
  many others, were hired to keep the peace. Despite Hollywood’s
  portrayal of the West, deadly shootouts were actually rare.
  Large cities in the East such as New York, were far more
• While gun violence was more rare than depicted, gambling
  parlors and saloons were certainly wild places.
• Because there were so few women in the West at this time,
  prostitution was common and accepted. Brothels could be found
  throughout the West.
  The End of the Open Range
• The age of the open range was short lived. The increase of
  homesteaders in the West decreased the amount of free grazing
  land, and forced ranchers to fence off land to raise their cattle
  on. The invention of barbed wire in the 1880’s made it cheap
  and practical to fence in vast areas.
• By the 1880’s, overgrazing became a problem, as there were
  more cattle than available grassland.
• The particularly harsh winter of 1886-1887 killed thousands of
  cattle, hurting the cattle boom and hastening an end to the
• By the 1890’s there were hundreds of ranches that operated
  closer to the ever expanding railroads, which made the rancher
  and cowhands way of life, much more settled.
Images of the Open Range
Images of the Open Range
     Transcontinental Railroad
• In the 1860’s, the U.S. government subsidized the building of a
  railroad to cross the entire country. Much intrigue and corruption
  went into choosing the routes, but eventually Omaha and
  Sacramento would chosen.
• The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Companies built the
  railroad, the former from the East, and the latter from the West.
• Most of the labor was done by immigrant Irish and Chinese, as
  well as Civil War veterans.
• Blasting through the Rocky mountains for tunnels, dealing with
  the threat of Native American uprisings, back breaking labor in
  brutal heat and freezing cold were just some of the difficulties of
  the project.
• In 1869, the final spike joining the two lines was made in
  Promontory point Utah. The journey between coasts which had
  previously taken 6 months, could now be made in a week.
Transcontinental Railroad
     The Closing of the West
• As the Indians were gradually subdued and
  placed on reservations or assimilated,
  homesteaders created farms and
  communities in previously wilderness areas,
  and railroad and telegraph lines crisscrossed
  the country, the era of the frontier wilderness
  in the American West came to a close.
• By 1900, the West, effectively, had been

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