In this lesson, our instructor Elizabeth Turro gives an introduction on the American west. She talks about the gold rush, cattle ranching, cowboys, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, the Wild West show, homesteaders and Homestead Act of 1862. She also explains farming, the grange, Oliver Kelley who is the founder of the grange, Native Americans and the west, reservations, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and the battle of Little Big Horn. The other key points she mentioned are the assimilation polices, Helen Hunt Jackson, Dawes Severalty Act, the ghost dance, the Wounded Knee in 1890, railroad workers, miners and cowboys and the diverse west and California. Last but not least, she illustrates the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, biased anti-Chinese imagery, golden California and what public parks are established.
By the end of the 19th century, it seemed as if there were 2 nations: one that was industrial and one that was the “frontier” country
The 2 are interrelated: the final settlement across the Great Plains & the Far West was a result of the spread of American industrialism movement
The building of the railroads that really grew in the Civil War era with the help of federal government subsidies, but after the war, they expanded rapidly, and by 1869 the transcontinental railroad was built.
“Indian country” became a bridge to the Pacific and RR’s would help in the process of building that bridge, and about 100,000 Native Americans lived on the Great Plains during the mid-19th century.
Euro-Americans began to have their eyes on Oregon & CA so thousands traveled the Oregon Trail
Cattle raising became popular but the bison had to go (the herds almost vanished within 10 years). Buffalo hunters were hired to kill off bison.
The Gold Rush of 1949 spurred a massive migration to California; mostly men flocked to the gold fields to strike it rich. Many Chinese came to CA as well to work on “gold mountain” but most ended up working on the railroad.
The American West
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.