The Great Plains Farming Homestead Act Notes by ramhood17

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									       The Great Plains / Farming / Homestead Act Notes

Geography of the Plains
Describe each of the following features of the Great Plains

         The Great Plains run as far north as _____________________
         The Great Plains run as far south as ________________________
         average rainfall is ________________
         trees only grow naturally along ____________________
         temperatures reach ______________ degrees in the summer time
         winter in the Great Plains brings __________________ and extreme _______________
         Prairie _____________ and swarms of ___________________ were a danger and
          threat to ruining a family’s crops
         Huge herds of ____________________ were once found roaming the prairie grasses


Explain how the Homestead Act encouraged people in the Eastern United States to settle land in
the Great Plains.




Besides transporting people to the area, how did the railroads help settle the Great Plains?




The Wheat Belt
Dry farming Method - ___________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Sodbusters - _________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Wheat Belt - __________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Bonanza farms - ______________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________
Explain how the following inventions made “dry farming” easier on the Great Plains.

              Invention                                          Advantage for Farmers
                                                    The seed drill actually drilled a small hole into
                   Seed Drill                       the ground and a seed was dropped into the
                                                    hole and covered up with loose soil. No
                                                    longer were seeds planted by hand.

                  Steel Plows
        (no longer were wooden plows used,
            explain why steel was better)

              Mechanical Reaper


              Threshing Machines




In the 1890s Great Plains farmers fell on hard times. What caused the hardship? What was the
result?




Why did much of the Great Plains region
become the “Wheat Belt?”



Closing the Frontier
What did the 1890 census say about the Great
Plains and why was this disturbing to some
people?



How were settlers on the Great Plains able to adapt to the harsh environment?


Explain why most Americans did not think cattle ranches on the Great Plains were practical. What
changed their mind? How was this type of cattle different from others?

List the factors that contributed to the rise of the cattle industry.


Explain how cattle ranching shifted from open range to an organized business operation.
Geography of the Plains
Describe each of the following features of the Great Plains

         The Great Plains run as far north as ________________ (the Canadian border)
         The Great Plains run as far south as ________________ (the central Texas)
         average rainfall is ________________ (less than 20 inches a year)
         trees only grow naturally along ___________ (river banks)
         temperatures reach ______________ degrees in the summer time (100 degrees)
         winter in the Great Plains brings (blizzard conditions) and extreme (cold)
         Prairie (fires) and swarms of (grasshoppers) were a danger and threat to ruining a
          family’s crops
         Huge herds of (buffalo) were once found roaming the prairie grasses


Explain how the Homestead Act encouraged people in the Eastern United States to settle land in
the Great Plains.

1862 – Gov’t wanted to support the settlement of the Great Plains.
       charged $10 for 160 acres
       must be 21 (or head of a family); must be an American citizen or immigrant who
         has filed for citizenship; must live on the land for 5 years; must live on the land for
         6 months out of the year;

Besides transporting people to the area, how did the railroads help settle the Great Plains?

RR opened up offices in major cities enticing people to buy and settle land the RR were
given by the Fed. gov’t. Posters and pamphlets proclaimed the Plains were the ticket to
prosperity. Slogan used “Rain follows the plow,” spread the belief that if people cultivated
the land it would increase the rainfall there. Unfortunately, during the 1870s the Great
Plains experienced above average rainfall. Settler’s experiences were good but did not last.


The Wheat Belt
Dry farming Method – used on the Great Plains, planting seeds deep into the sod where there
is enough moisture for them to start growing.

Sodbusters – people who moved to the Great Plains to farm the land

Wheat Belt – South Dakota, North Dakota, western Nebraska, western Kansas

Bonanza farms – enormous farms that held thousands of acres and yielded big profits
Explain how the following inventions made “dry farming” easier on the Great Plains.

                Invention                                               Advantage for Farmers
                                                           The seed drill actually drilled a small hole
                      Seed Drill                           into the ground and a seed was dropped
                                                           into the hole and covered up with loose
                                                           soil. No longer were seeds planted by
                                                           hand.
                                                           Break up the ground better – stronger
                     Steel Plows
         (no longer were wooden plows used,
             explain why steel was better)
                                                           Harvested wheat faster
                Mechanical Reaper

                                                           Separated the wheat kernels from the
               Threshing Machines                          stocks


In the 1890s Great Plains farmers fell on hard times. What caused the hardship? What was the
result?

Besides the U.S., other nations started to produce a lot of wheat, which caused a surplus of
wheat. There was also a drought that began in the late 1880s. The price of wheat dropped.

Why did much of the Great Plains region become the “Wheat Belt?”

Wheat can withstand drought much better than corn.

Closing the Frontier
What did the 1890 census say about the Great Plains and why was this disturbing to some
people?

The Great Plains was becoming so settled that the “frontier” was almost gone. With the
idea that the frontier was gone the idea that people could get a “fresh start” was also gone.

How were settlers on the Great Plains able to adapt to the harsh environment?
      Water from deep wells
      RR brought lumber and brick to build houses
      RR brought coal for fuel

Normal cattle could not survive the harsh winters
Norm. cattle couldn’t digest the tough prarie grasses
introduction of longhorn cattle , high beef prices, invention of railroad (shipping to the east)
barbed wire eliminated the long drives, winter of 1886 + 1887 , cowboys became ranch hands

								
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