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The Great West and the Agricultural Revolution 1865-1890 Clash of Cultures on the Plains 360,000 Native Americans in 1860. Mirgration and conflict were common in the West. Native American groups were displacing each other in the centuries following expansion. White invaders spread disease, typhoid, cholera, and smallpox. Bison population steadily decreasing with advancements west: Killing and raising livestock. How to deal with Native American Population West Signed treaties at Fort Laramie in 1851, Fort Atkinson1853. Beginning of Reservation system in the West. Attempt to separate into 2 great colonies. North/South of expansion. Problems: Tribes and Chiefs were not common organizations among the groups. Nomadic living vs. confined space. Culutral differences. Native Americans promised rations and to be left alone. Indian agents often corrupt. Spoiled meat, and poor blankets. Warfare common between Native Americans and Army troops. Buffalo soldiers- African American troops. Fighting was often brutal and aggressive. Sand Creek, Colorado; Chivington’s militia massacred 400 Native Americans. Immunity? Sioux massacred Fetterman’s 81 soldiers and civilians attempting to block construction of the Bozeman trail. Fort Laramie 1868 treaty giving the Great Sioux Reservation. Custer’s expedition into the Black Hills announces discovery of Gold. Sioux respond to gold seekers with war. Custer’s last stand at Little Bighorn, wiped out. U.S. Army pursues the warriors relentlessly. Chief Joseph with the Nez Perces tricked into reservations into Kansas, eventually allowed back to Idaho. Apache of Arizona and New Mexico difficult to subdue. Geronimo led the charge. Apache eventually end up in Oklahoma as farmers. White policy finally shattered the Native American spirit. Placed onto reservations, theory was cultural autonomy, became wards of the government. Trains a big factor as to why conquered. Bring unlimited amount of troops, farmers, cattlemen, settlers. Disease ravaged the people. Disappearance of the buffalo as a way of life also. Buffalo Significance Used for food, fuel (buffalo chips), and hides for clothing and harnesses. End of Civil War 15 million still on the plains. Locomotives slowed by the herds. Began to be killed off for amusement or basic parts. By 1885 fewer than a thousand and danger of complete extinction. Plight of Native American’s. Helen Hunt Jackson “A century of Dishonor” 1881. Record of governments ruthless treatment of Native Americans. Humanitarian efforts to treat Native Americans kindly and persuade them to become like the white man. Other side insists on containment and force. Often times Christian reformers tried to force them to assimilate to white culture. Withholding food for not giving up religious ways. Outlaw dances like the sun dance. “Ghost Dance”, resulted in Battle of Wounded Knee 1890. Dakota Sioux were slaughtered. The reform of Indian policy was the Dawes Act. Reflected force civilization. Dissolved tribes as legal entities, wipe out tribal land ownership, individual families on 160 acres. Get full title’s to land and citizenship in 25 years if they behaved. Reservation land not sold to Native Americans was to be sold to railroad and white settlers. Proceeds go to civilize the native Americans. Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. Children separated from tribes, and give white values and customs. “Kill the Indian and save the man” school’s motto. Tried to make individuals out of tribal groups. Ignored cultural ties. 1900 lost half of the 156 million acres. Mining in the West 1858 discovery of gold in Colorado “Pikes Peakers” Countless busts. Many stayed in silver mines or to grow wheat. Comstock Lode; Gold & Silver $340 million, 1860-1890, brought into the Union prematurely. (Provide Lincoln 3 electoral) Other small discoveries in Western States, “Helldorados” boomtowns with saloons, prostitutes, lynch laws, and vigilante justice. Gold was gone the towns disappeared. Replaced by corporations, mine hard to reach. Mining of the West Attracted wealth and populations to the region. Women found opportunity. Equality of vote, Wyoming 1869, Utah 1870, Colorado 1893, & Idaho 1896. Help finance Civil War, facilitate railroads, intensify conflict with Native Americans, enable Treasury to resume specie payments in 1879, inject silver issue into politics. Cattle Drives and Beef Bonanza Grassy plains of Texas supported several million tough long horned cattle. Transcontinental railroad brought opportunity to bring the beef to markets in stockyards, to meat packing plants (Kansas City, Chicago), ship fresh produce in refrigerator cars to the east coast. “Long Drive” 1 to 10 thousand driven across the unfenced plains feeding as they went. Terminals Dodge City, Abilene (Wild Bill Hickok), Ogallala, and Cheyenne. Dangers of Native Americans, stampedes, cattle Cattle continued… 1866-1888 over 4 million cattle to markets. Eventually homesteaders and sheep ranchers enter the area fencing up the range. 1886-87 Winter blizzard, overgrazing, overexpansion took its toll. Cattle raising became big business, fence ranches, lay in winter feed, import blooded bulls, produce fewer and meatier animals. Wyoming Stock-Growers Association, virtual control of the state and legislature. Farmers frontier Homestead Act of 1862; land given away to encourage filling empty space, provide stimulus to the family farm. (backbone of democracy) 1/2 million families took advantage of the act over 40 years. 5 times as many purchased their land from railroads and land companies. 2 out of 3 homesteaders failed, poor rain conditions and less than ideal land. Many corporations grabbed the best land using dummy homesteaders. Railroads induced many immigrants into the Continued… Myth “Great American Desert”, treeless and tough sod must be sterile. Sod broken by the heavy iron plows and oxen proved fruitful. Built homes out of sod and burned corncobs for warmth. 100th meridian, imaginary line with distinction of two climate regions, water to east, dry to the west. Wesley Powell warned not suitable for agriculure to west, “Dry Farming”-shallow cultivation-dust bowl. Fading Frontier Government begins to set aside land such as Yellowstone in 1872, Yosemite and Sequoia 1890. Safety Valve theory, during times of hardships mobility options. How Valid is it? Western cities Chicago, Denver, San Fransisco. The last in a chapter of colonizing different ideas of what the West was. Native American’s most desperate stand, Anglo and Hispanic culture collide, along with countless environmental challenges and economic and Farm becomes the factory Influence towards single cash crop focus. Use profits to buy other food at general store and products in catalogs. Farmers become tied to banking, railroads, and manufacturing. Buy expensive machinery, twine bender and combine expensive machinery used for more efficient growth. Farmers skills at business was short, blame goes around. Mechanization of agriculture pushed out marginal farmers and produced farms attaining factory status. Wheat farms numbering a half dozen at 15,000 acres. Agriculture becomes big business, advent of refrigerator car allows for fruit and vegetable crops sold in eastern markets. Danger of cash crops wheat same as cotton at the mercy of world markets. Bankruptcy falls upon the Farm belt. 1880’s and 1890’s facing competition of other countries. Low prices and deflated currency. What is the problem of deflation? Borrow $1000 wheat worth 1 a bushel, expected to pay back 1000 bushels plus interest, but 1890 fell to 50 cents, how many bushels does it take to pay back? Deflation partly from the static money supply. Government policy hard money. Farmers operating at a loss year after year, Machinery increase output which drops prices of grain, and deeper into debt. % rates of 8-40 on mortgages, despair against the eastern bankers. Tenant farmers continued to increase through out the region. 1/4 Droughts and infestations ^ the problems. Government problems, land overassessed, local taxes, and paid for protected manufactured goods while competing in an unprotected world market for food. Mercy of trusts (Fertilizer, barbed-wire, harvester), railroad freight rates, storage rates. Disorganized, by nature independent, never successfully organized to limit production until federal government steps in 50 years later. Farmers take stand The Grange organized by Oliver Kelly (MN) Individual improvement promotion to collective farm improvement. Escape trusts through cooperatively owned stores for consumers, grain elevators, attempt to manufacture harvest machinery. Politics; Grange through state legislation, strove to regulate railway rates and storage fees. Granger influence faltered through repeal in judicial law of court cases Wabash decision 1886 Pullman Strike Eugene V. Debs labor leader organized the American Railway Union. Pullman Palace Car Company hit hard by the depression of 1893. Cut wages to 1/3 but maintained line on rent for company houses. Strike occurs paralyzing railway traffic from Chicago to the Pacific. U.S attorney Richard Olney urged for Federal troops; ground U.S. mail can’t get through. Federal troops crush the strike. Debs in Jail for ignoring injunction. “government by injunction” McKinley vs. Bryan Issue of 1896 election; Monetary policy Maintain gold standard or inflate with silver McKinley leading candidate of Rep. (Ohio) Influenced by Marcus Hanna (Iron). Believed gov’t to aid business. Declared gold standard even with McKinley modest voting towards silver. Condemn hard times; support protective tariff. McKinley vs. Bryan William Jennings Bryan (Nebraska) Cross of Gold Speech, “You shall not press down upon the brown of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold” Platform demand inflation through unlimited coinage of silver at 16 oz. to 1 of gold. Silver in the dollar would be worth 50 cents. (32 to 1) “Gold Bugs” democrats who left over the silver issue. Continued Populists joined Democrats platform because support of their 16 to 1 ratio on silver. Feared a McKinley victory if they split their votes. Bryan creates a panic among eastern conservatives. Gold bugs also vented their concerns over the monetary policy. Marcus Hanna created a large slush fund from trusts for the campaign. $16 million to $1 Million for the democrats. Rep. slogan “ McKinley and the Full Dinner Pail” Fear was McKinley’s ally and Bryan’s enemy. Republican business placed contracts with manufacturers contingent on victory. Intimidation (Don’t come to work if Bryan wins) McKinley victory. Significance: Resounding victory for big business, big cities, financial conservatism. Last serious effort to win the Presidency with farmer vote.
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